Friday, January 28, 2011

Is technology making us dumb?

I just upgraded my cell phone from a Blackberry 8310 to an HTC Evo Shift. I won't go into the details of the phone and all but I will say this, "It's different...way different!"

The point of my post is that continuously improving technology is dumbing us down—at least partially anyway. It could be just me but I doubt it. I agree it's assisting us to do better, greater, things but I think it's dwindling our brain power, specifically our memorization skills.

Switching phones has made me realize this.

Quick, tell me the phone number of a person that you talk to only once or twice a day.

Can't do it can you? Don't lie!

I can recall my wife's cell number in lightning speed. Not just because her number has the same first six numbers as mine but also because I call it ALL the time from my office phone or our house phone when I don't have my cell phone near me. I can dial my house number without pause because I dial it all the time from my work phone. I can call my office phone because I use it to check my work voice mail. They are all in my cell phone contacts list butI can dial them from memory.

Everyone else is on my cell phone I know their number as Stephanie, Shawn, Keith, Andy, Trey, etc. Have you tried punching in "T-R-E-Y" into a land line? It doesn't dial Trey's number nor does "A-N-D-Y" or "K-E-I-T-H" dial their respective numbers.

Now granted, I don't call these people often but I think it is often enough that I should have their number memorized by now if I was actually dialing it instead of selecting their name from my contacts list on my cell phone.

The worst (best?) story I have is the following: I am sitting at my desk working away at my computer. My office phone clicks - I don't like the ringing so there is a setting that makes the phone sort of click instead of ring. I look at the display and it's a number that seems familiar but I'm not totally convinced I know it. I don't answer it because my phone is part of a phone tree we used to have and I get the randomest, dumbest callers looking for information when it is now all on our website. Anyway, the phone clicks for 3-4 times and stops. About 10 seconds later, I hear it click again. I see it's the same somewhat-familiar number. I think to myself, "This caller really wants to talk to someone." I let it "ring" and stop once again. About 10 seconds later, my cell phone vibrates. I look at the display and see that it's my youngest calling because it has the name displayed. I look at the number and it's the same number that was calling my office line. How stupid am I that I don't even fully recall my own child's cell phone number?

So, I'm going to try a new tactic. I decided I'm going to try and dial the numbers of people I'm going to call instead of hitting Contacts->Name. I've tried it a few times and it's difficult because when I start to type the number it automatically reflects the numbers I have saved and shows the match possibilities. Most all of the time it's the exact person and I'm tempted to just reach my thumb up a few inches and click the name. It's like sticking my tongue to a 9-volt battery—I know what will happen but I can't keep from doing it.

Anyway, that's my thought and I'm going to attempt to get my "memory" back. Or at least practice using it a little more. Maybe it'll help in my studies...I'll take anything to help in that area!

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