Reading & Technology: Two Star-crossed Lovers

Sometimes it seems that technology is the enemy; if you don’t hop on board the technology train, you’re going to have a bad time. I think that technology, like most progressive things, come with a good and bad side. Lanier argues in What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, that technology is changing the way we read, focus and the way we manage our time. Lanier states that he used to read prolific books, both out of necessity and leisure but that he now lacks the focus to read a lengthy novel of any kind. Many people who are acquainted with the internet, find it hard to focus, let alone finish a book. The real irony in this, is that whilst Lanier writes about his own struggle with reading, we, the reader, are too perhaps struggling to focus whilst reading his book. 


He goes on to argue that it is a naive thought to shelve technology as just technology, as it has come to surpass its own entity. Technology has had many lovers, some of which it has scorned, and some of which have remained somewhat exclusive. Technology has had an affair with instruments such as the clock, newspaper, telephone, radio, television, computer, and now its trying to find that one girl that has it all: the tablet/smartphone. 


Technology is fusing the “best” and most functional utilities and tools. This progressive movement is slowly changing the way we think and approach things. Reading is a skill we are taught; we are not born with this uniquely human ability. However, as times have changed, so has the way we approach reading as adults. The internet, as Lanier argues, is the perpetrator. Jumping from link to link, the internet is slowly declining the way we focus on a single task. We keep things like checking our email and seeing what Ricky Bobby is up to on Facebook, in the back of our minds while attempting to read. These little distractions are causing major havoc in our brain. 


The question that comes to mind is whether to allow this change in the way we think occur. Can we fight it? Or possibly adapt to it? One thing is certain, and that is the constant evolution of technology and the internet. Whether we eradicate outdated technology or try to integrate it into the new and improved, technology will always be apart of us. Humans have for the most part always been intwined with technology, even in the form of hunting tools. Therefore, it may be best to just go with the flow and go with the web.

By maggiebania

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