Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Is Technology Ruining Me?

Has modern technology ruined me?  Or you? Or all of us?  I love the fact that we have the ability to capture every important moment in real-time because we have such advanced smartphones.  Earlier this year, because of apps like Periscope, normal people like you and I were able to report about the riots in Baltimore hours before any news station or network could get to air. 

That’s amazing.  When people use tech to lead discussions about race relations or to report on issues that are being ignored or skewed in mainstream media, I see the good in the direction we’re headed.  But when people are using tech to document how yummy their lunch looks or how sexy they look in their swimsuit, I start to doubt that all of these technological advances are needed.

For every groundbreaking Periscope telecast, there are thousands of useless selfies. It seems that almost no event is safe.  Every minute of every activity is being captured and posted.  Every word, every look, and every development (no matter how big or small) is being shared.   For all the good it can bring, I’m uncertain of the ultimate benefit of this extreme transparency.

When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is grab my phone.  I shut off my alarm, and then I check Instagram.  It’s a morning ritual that’s ingrained in me.  I can’t get through a one-hour TV program without checking my phone for updates or texts.  And the amount of times I look at or use my phone during a full day of work is just absurd.  My phone is a fiber of my being, and I’m sure it’s the same for most of you.

Sometimes I wonder what the world would be like if I just put my phone away for a few hours and lived life without it.  Would I enjoy the songs at a concert that much more because I wasn’t trying to record a clip to post to Facebook? Would I have deeper memories of a night out with friends because I was less concerned with checking in at the restaurant or taking pictures to share with my followers? Is my phone, this new fiber of my being, prohibiting me from really living?

In the time it’s taken me to write this post, I’ve stopped to look at my phone at the end of almost every paragraph.  I can’t even get my thoughts down about my extreme phone use without looking at my phone.  That’s really as ridiculous as it sounds.

I get it.  We live in a fully integrated world.  And I’m a huge fan of this tech-infused life.  But every once in a while, I just want to unplug, breathe in some fresh air, and have a conversation with someone that I don’t feel the need to capture and share.  I want an experience that’s so great that I’ll just remember it without any documentation.  I know that won’t be all the time.  But I don’t think it’s so much to ask every once in awhile.

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