Is technology, the death of original thought?

Coffee cup

Coffee cup (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Whilst everyone else is looking for some Irish roots to drag out into the sunlight, I’d like to talk about something completely different. I was in Costa (a coffee-house) with my husband at lunchtime today and I noticed that everyone was doing something… Most, were doing it on laptops, smartphones and tablets.

There were still the Sunday Paper readers, myself and the husband included. I noticed that all the other readers had smartphones within arms reach and the occasional “bzz bzz” would stop them reading and look at the screen instead.

Are we now all so connected (yet distant) that we are incapable of doing something as simple as having a cup of coffee with a friend or lover without having some form of communication or web connected device within a hairs breadth?

“I am also aware of the irony of writing this on a Wi-Fi connected Netbook from my writing couch.”

As if to illustrate my point even further, the group next to us were talking about their favorite hotels on holiday. I was very discouraged to hear that one of their criteria was the strength and quality of the Wi-Fi. I could understand if they had talked about business hotels but holiday destinations? I can think of nothing worse.

Technology enables us to connect in many ways and has been a positive influence on our lives, making things easier and faster. Technology can make you far more productive. It can also suck the time out of your day like a depressurization at 37,000 feet

I am as guilty as the next person of spending far more time on social media networks and playing stupid games than actually writing ( I also read today that procrastination is good for you. Yay!). But my coffee shop outing really got me thinking about how we receive our news and information and just how much gets re-packaged a thousand times, getting further and further away from someone’s original thought.

Are we all so plugged into content that we’ve stopped creating our own? Do we now rely so heavily on the news feed that we’ve stopped being able to work things out for ourselves and think things through? Do we now just ask Google?

What do you think?

13 thoughts on “Is technology, the death of original thought?

  1. there is a theory that we don’t need to know or remember anything anymore as our phones and laptops can do it for us. As you say, five minutes in any pub, coffee shop or other public place will show this. It’s as though we have outsourced our brains. Even our memories are captured on facebook timelines nowadays.
    And the days of the good old-fashioned pub debate about who was in what film, or when we the last time a certain footballer scored are over when anything and everything can be googled instantly. yes you get an accurate answer but you miss the fun of what you uncover on the journey to that answer.

    • I completely agree the journey is sometimes much nicer than the eventual destination. I do think were starting to lose something of ourselves in the race to connect everything. 🙂 Thanks RG

  2. I can’t keep up with all of it and therefor don’t. But I am aware of it.
    My husband doesn’t compute. I mean he isn’t even aware of it. It all has passed him by and he will never get into it.
    For the rest of you and me too, there is just no going back.

  3. I always wanted to go to a coffee shop and read but I always stopped myself because I think I need a laptop to write or I can just read in the privately of my own home. I googled how many hours there were in a year when I could have easily figured it out in my head. And going out with your friends isn’t just you and them anymore, its you, them, and the people they are connecting with on their phones.

    The world is changing and technology is just a part of it It’s has it’s pros and cons like everything else but I do believe we are facing a world that can no longer communicate without the use of an electronic device.

  4. The most ironic part to me is that with our increased ability to communicate we are losing the ability to communicate. Texting is so much easier, especially with topics you don’t want to talk about, even though you lose a lot of the value that such a conversation could bring. I get frustrated by the insidiousness of technology even as I fall prey to it. And Google has killed many an idle conversation between my wife and I.

    On the positive side of things, the technology has connected me with a number of folks, such as you all here, who are still trying to draft up original thoughts and fight against the intrusion of helpful tech… even more irony right there…

    • It’s a bit of a muddle. As much as I love my ability to blog and talk to people from around the world. Who hasn’t looked at their stats bar and thought yippee, someone in Nairobi has read my blog. I still think their is a time and not just when at the pictures or movies that we should be shutting it off….

  5. It doesn’t pass me by though, that I have connected with all these wonderful bloggers through the same process, usually with that empty coffee cup while my son is playing on my phone and I’m asking him if I should use American spelling for a wider audience and then we get into a great discussion about it.
    There are good and bad points. I think rather than creativity being the loser, it might be social interaction. I’m looking around at everyone with their head down, attracted by their tech.

    • Hmm,interesting point. I think social interaction is probably worse off than originality. Then I think about the next generation who seem to have forgotten how to daydream. Thanks Kate, appreciate your opinion.

  6. Agree, I mean I am on vacation and I cannot stop reaching for my smartphone on order to tune into the social media. It’s not that I am constantly sharing on social media, I find it difficult not to cut myself from various ways to keep me less ignorant of the current affairs whilst enjoying holidays. Also, I would like to point out that having the technology of MP3 players has an antisocial aspect to it—sitting in the metro, walking to work, etc. Finally, Kindles has this effect as well. Unlike a physical book one is less likely to strike up a conversation about a current read of another without a glimpse of the book cover.

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