Descent to Digital Dystopia

Time to ditch the digital? Well, not completely.

Technology has become an integral part of our daily lives. But that’s obvious. Even as I write this on my laptop, I have my smartphone beside me receiving updates on social media and news outlets. A constant stream of information. So, is it about time we remove ourselves, even if it’s ever so slightly, from our digital clutches?

What’s being dubbed as “The Age of Information”, we find ourselves scrolling, streaming and sharing most of what makes us individual, online. Photographs are no longer taken on disposable cameras, whilst video cassettes are destined to live out what remaining days they have left in the attic. A smartphone nowadays can do nearly everything except make you breakfast (and you can be sure an app is in development to do just that).

Everything has become streamlined to live a more efficient, productive and if we’re honest, a more robotic life.

Studies have shown that too much time spent looking at screens can reduce the amount of grey matter in our brains and a study in England way back in 2013 concluded that prolonged exposure to looking at screens can have a negative effect on our mental health.

Now, my argument is not merely “rid yourself of technology for a happier life”.

Obviously, technology has managed to enrich our lives in a number of ways. Working has become (arguably) easier and more portable. We’re more accessible and contactable to our friends and family when we are out and about.

Our smartphones (for those lucky enough to be able to afford such astronomical retail prices) mean that we can snap, chat and organise on the go.

Contactless payment, mobile banking and transferring money between accounts has made handling our money a lot more convenient.

However, it is this convenience which leads to over reliability.

How many times have we heard of a friend or a cousin or a friend of a cousin who has misplaced their phone or broke their laptop. Water damage is an ever increasing cause of smartphone casualties and lord knows how many iPhones have joined the toilet duck in the bottom of the bowl.

Some have backed up their information on a cloud system, but for those who are still untrusting in the wake of stories relating to hacking, the solution is simple.

Physical copies.

Can we stop using Instagram as our sole photo album, instead having printed copies of our cherished memories. When you have to part with your hard earned wages for printer paper, you’ll know which photos are best. In which case, why not delete the other useless ones?

When we’re confronted with these choices, it makes us value what we have more. Maybe buy your absolute favourite albums and leave the remaining music on Spotify. Print those photos of you and your friends for your room.

Ditch the E-reader for a book or paper.

Think of it as a desert island. If it came down to it, what would you bring?

Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the modern internet, has warned that we may be in danger of throwing our information into a digital black hole.

By Cian Roche

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