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Are we, personally, becoming more dependant on computers?

July 29, 2012

Martin’s PC recently broke down completely.  He’s tried everything to fix it, swapping out all the components etc. but there’s been no joy so far.  A side effect of this is him realising how much he uses/needs his computer and coming to the conclusion that we’re all becoming more dependant on computers.  I thought about this for a while and can’t help but disagree.  To a certain degree he’s right as more and more businesses, colleges etc. become computer based and switch to online forms etc. but I believe that for a personal user the need to use a computer is self-inflicted.  While I discuss this please keep in mind that we are talking about computers and not about mobile phones etc. which I won’t get into.

First of all there’s the social aspect; facebook, twitter, etc. that some people feel they can’t live without.  I feel that the amount of time people spend on these social networks and how much they rely on them for interaction with friends is mainly due to the fact that they are an always on resource rather than them being the most efficient way to communicate.  I find that when I really need to speak to someone I send them a text, call them or go see them in person rather than hoping that they log on to one of the above.  I also believe that if you can’t use phone, text or face-to-face contact to get hold of someone or interact that said person isn’t necessary in your daily life and therefore the choice to contact them is a by-product of using a computer.  Self-inflicted.

Next, we have writing.  What’s wrong with using pen and paper?  I don’t write as much as I used to but when I do I actually prefer writing with pen and paper instead of using a computer.  I don’t feel like it lessens my ability to write at all.  It’s true that publishers etc. are looking for manuscripts to be word processed correctly these days but that’s going into the business side of things rather than talking about personal use.  When it comes to writing articles for a blog, website etc. this is again a choice which you are making because you have a computer and not a task being forced upon you.  However, using modern mobile technology it’s very possible to still upload articles to the internet, email etc. so not having a computer isn’t an excuse for not writing or posting said articles if you wish to do so but it’s important to remember that, unless working for a company, it is a choice you make.  Self-inflicted.

Gaming.  Gaming has now become a large part of many people’s lives in terms of the amount of free time it consumes.  What was once looked on as lazy, nerdy etc. hobby has become widespread.  The question is, do you need a computer to play games?  The answer is, no.  Having a computer gives you access to some games which consoles don’t, mainly MMOs and some strategy-type games although I’m starting to see a lot less strategy games appearing in the current market and a lot of those make it consoles anyway.  As for MMOs, you can actually play some MMOs using mobile technology these days which is a huge step forward.  However, let’s just say that you can only play the game you want to play on a computer and not on a console or mobile.  Once again it’s a case of you choosing to play that game.  Self-inflicted.

I could go on; news, watching tv, movies etc. but I feel like I’ll just become repetitive and boring if I haven’t already.  The point is that the level of dependence we personally have on computers is entirely down to the choices we make.  All the dependencies we feel we have on computers are due to us having computers in the first place and therefore choosing to partake in certain activities which make use of them.  That’s just my personal opinion but as to whether a high dependence is a bad thing, I won’t comment as I don’t wish to offend either side.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 29, 2012 10:33 am

    You’re right, though. If there were ever a day when every device on the planet carked it simultaneously, the vast majority of the world’s population would be outright screwed.

    Also, this comic nailed the subject matter perfectly: http://www.spaceavalanche.com/2009/11/16/technology-fail/

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