technology and relating honestly

I wonder whether technology naturally favours city life. For starters, electricity or power of some sort is usually required, which can be hard to find in remote spots. But I was looking at a smart fridge, and Google Glass and wondering about the underlying structures. The more conveniently I can learn what others know, the less I explore my own ideas, for the less time I have for them.

I’ve been hankering after a tablet, thinking I need the portability and convenience of having access to my writing and music outside in the backyard, or at lunch while I’m at work. And secretly, I think wouldn’t it be great to have internet radio wherever I am and what the hell, even the ability to do online reading and there I am, pulled, slowly, inexorably, back into the online world where communication is king.

I’ve always loved languages, writing, and music. I’ve studied journalism and mass communications, and I can see myself always interested in those disciplines. But if I were on Mars, looking at how my favourite technologies might shape how I live, I think I’d observe that despite my claims of wanting to be a hermit, I’m drawn to people. People at a safe distance, that is. Not the people who thump around in an upstairs apartment, or who stand in front of me in a lineup at the cash register. But People, as in all of us humans struggling to be fulfilled, creative and compassionate. I’m excited that technology helps me explore my interests in the company of the similarly-minded. But I’m not sure what indulging myself in this brings.

I notice that at work, I’m more comfortable sending emails to colleagues rather than phoning them. It’s not just that I’m afraid of playing phone tag. It’s more like I can present a better image of myself and the company I represent in composing the right letter with the right tone of voice, than if I am caught spontaneously interacting with someone by phone. I might say something less than ideal, whereas I can always edit my email.

Yesterday, I was irritated that I had to phone a company to obtain an email address I needed. Her email wasn’t included on the company’s website, and I was vaguely apprehensive of speaking with her on the phone, thinking an email exchange would be cleaner, more straightforward and just plain easier. I wasn’t always like this, and I wondered, have I become more email-oriented just for my own convenience? Or am I being subtly moved towards less honest relationships by a larger unwillingness to deal with the messier sides of life?

Is there an app to help me be more relaxed and sociable in a lineup at the gas pump? Is there a technology that can foster some enjoyment from living close to a family with noisy children?



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