It seems that though we are the richest society ever….kings of old could not have imagined the kind of power and entertainment our kids have at their finger-tips…yet we are less creative and thus less free.
I have nothing against robotics in general. In fact I think the technology used to improve the quality of our lives has been near miraculous especially when it comes to helping people in the medical field.
What I am concerned about is not - humans using the gift of their intelligence to create useful tools - but rather humans offering up their intelligence, creativity, and decision making powers to their tools.
What I see happening is fairly simple. On a basic level little children are using computers and technological toys and tools to the exclusion of their own imagination…hence they do not have much imagination. Imagination is a human gift, much like a muscle, and it must be exercised in order to develop.
When movies, videos, DVDs, and all sorts of games (I don’t even know the names of) are placed in front of children they become addicted because they are so attractive and they relax the brain…it is not a strenuous experience because your children are passive participants and it’s not “real” so there are no real serious consequences….except that perhaps they don’t do what they should have been doing.
A further step along this road is that if your kids don’t have much imagination they don’t learn to solve problems well because it takes imagination to solve problems…hence…the problem. Then, before you know it, we have children who grow up using tools and toys to cover the fact that they can’t spell. (What’s a dictionary?) They can’t write.( Punctuation is virtually a lost art – I should know I’ve been spending way too much of my adult life trying to find it!) They don’t know how to do basic arithmetic (Without a calculator??)
They don’t know how to prepare a meal.(Don’t all meals come in a box?…Don’t even get me started on the disconnect between kids and their food source – milk from a cow? Don’t be disgusting!) They don’t know how to manage money.(You mean money isn’t free?) They don’t know how to run a house hold. (What do you mean by “house-hold”?) They don’t have the discipline to stick to a job, especially a difficult job, because they spent so much of their youth being comfortably entertained. Being “uncomfortable” has become intolerable.
Robot toys don’t complain if you over use or abuse them while a human friend would have said or done something to let you know…”Hey, your hurting me.” No human response – so no human insight or understanding. Limits are stretched beyond reason…beyond sanity.
Then if we take this situation just a little further along… we realize that we have adults who cannot think out-side the “box” so to speak. Everything must be run along certain prescribed lines because they are used to being lined up, sent to school, taught to stay on the same page as everyone else, graduate with a passing score…if possible, get a job…if possible, and retreat into fantasy land as often as possible.
The very idea of doing things differently scares the heck out of some people because they are so institutionalized by a mechanical world which does such an incredibly great job of taking care of them…all the while they are falling asleep in a pretty poppy field which numbs them to the things they can no longer think about, experience, or achieve because that talent or skill has been taken over by a machine which can do it so much better. When was the last time you carved a piece of wood, made a blanket, drew a picture, made up a story to entertain your kids, sang a song, did anything that had nothing to do with a mechanical world?
As I said in the beginning, technology has its uses and we have been very fortunate to live in a world with so many advantages….but let’s not get so comfortable that we end up fast asleep…all the while the machines take over our best selves.