Does reliance on technology make us too vulnerable?

It is no surprise (especially after this week’s readings) that technology and informational processing play a big part in our lives. From the global corporation to the individual, we rely heavily on information in our decision making. Don’t get me wrong its great waking up in the morning and instantly knowing the time, the weather forecast, news updates, and my schedule simply by looking at my phone. I know how fast to get ready, what to wear, where to go, and who to talk to. Information allows us to make better decisions (at least in most cases). But do you ever feel like you’re overwhelmed by it all?

Studies have shown that most people actually exhibit symptoms of withdrawal when their cell phone is taken away. Separating them from the cell phones creates anxiety and stress. In an interview on NPR it was stated “I found addictive tendencies in my subjects. They almost went through withdrawal symptoms. And the way that I like to explain that is that cell phones and other sorts of technology are very inherently stimulating. And so when you take them away, a person becomes under-simulated and almost doesn’t know how to entertain himself.” I think this is true for me. When my cell phone gets lost, I tend to freak out. My anxiety is soothed through use of my laptop, but this I think only further validates the argument. The point is we are very reliant on the information we get, not only physically but mentally. Cell phones are just one example of this. Try to imagine your daily life for a week without electronic sources of information. Better yet, try to imagine a business functioning without electronic sources of information. Everything goes on hold. Can you imagine what would happen if we could no longer get power and were cut off from all things electronic? Does this reliance on technology and information make us too vulnerable? If so, what can we do to become less vulnerable?

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2 Responses to Does reliance on technology make us too vulnerable?

  1. eeewald says:

    This is really interesting. Earlier this semester I had to go a week without my phone in between breaking my old one and getting a new one. That week sucked but I never thought of it as going through withdrawal until reading this. My experience actually did feel loke withdrawal now that I think back on it. I felt utterly alone and my body kept thinking that I was getting a text but there was actually nothing in my pocket. It’s really kind of sad when you think about how heavily dependent we are on things like cell phones.

  2. Jordi says:

    Fascinating. There is an idea from psychology (I think) also called “transactive memory.” The idea is that we “store” information in other people. For example, after divorces, it was found men ad forgotten information about their relations. They had “stored” it in their wives. Similarly, perhaps we store part of our cognitive processing in devices. The “cloud” is not just hardware and networks, but we each have our own cloud now.

    I know I am helpless to schedule without google calendar.

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