Don't Forget to Make Memories

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My college experience would not have been remotely the same without technology.

Technology has facilitated my learning and allowed me to gain knowledge that I otherwise would not have had access to. Though there is much to be gained in reading Chaucer in Old English or a detailed biology textbook, this alone would leave something to be desired. Technology has enhanced my education; this course is a great example, along with one of my favorite courses I've taken at Clemson, a United States Congress course that relied heavily on "LEGSIM", an online simulator that allowed us to mimic the Senate.

What we must be cautious of however, is the manner and the extent to which we use technology. When we were younger, my mom used to make me and my two sisters give her our phones when we were out to dinner as a family (she would stack them up in a pile, taunting us) because we often found ourselves getting wrapped up in the cyberworld, and losing valuable face time. I used to resent her for this because I was experiencing some serious cyber FOMO, but as I've grown older I've come to realize that disconnecting sometimes can be good for the soul.

I think Clive Thompson hit the nail on the head when he suggested that neither technology nor man functions the best on their own, that "it's the two together, working side by side". (5) We are the creators of technology, therefore we are responsible for it. As proven in the first chapter Smarter Than You Think, the two together can accomplish some incredible things when they work together.

Man & Machine

Along with Thompson's idea of "centaurs", a sort of hybrid of human and technological intelligence, he offers another use for technology - to accurately record memories with great detail, even more accurately than one's own mind can recall them from experience. To me, the idea of recording your every move is a little eerie but the story of Deb Roy being able to replay his dad's last moments with his son allowed me to understand this idea in a more personal, positive light.

Technology allows us to record memories in the form of videos, digital photographs, blogs, and many more ways. This can be both a positive and a negative thing. Too often I find myself thinking "could I Instagram this?" or missing out on an experience in an attempt to "get a good angle" or "choose a good filter". Then I have to stop and remind myself that in order to document memories, one must first make them. Sometimes losing yourself in the moment is more important than getting "likes" on your Instagram photo.

Technology can be both an enabler and a hinderance of the human race. It all depends on how we use it.


kglasso's picture

completely agree!

I really liked this post, I used a very similar statement in my blog post as you did in your last full paragraph. I often am torn between enjoying reality as it happens or taking a picture or trying to capture the memory for later on. It makes you think, did you ever really live that moment at all if you were too busy taking pictures of it? You may be able to replay your child's first steps, but you never actually saw them with your own eyes.

ald_3's picture

Hi Lauren -- It's great that

Hi Lauren -- It's great that you realize how technology has shaped your college career thus far. I think especially in the humanities, which many consider to be a more classical discipline, it is important for us to figure out how to balance an understanding of technology with the critical thinking skills gained through the study of literature. As English majors, we're fortunate to be able to study classics like Chaucer and also participate in more technical courses like this one. Immersing ourselves in literature helps us "disconnect" from our technology-centered world, but if we can balance that with more technical skills, we will really be able to excel in our future careers. Thank you for sharing your insights!