Recently I was using my phone to find a store and realized I was standing in front of the store I was trying to find. Literally standing right in front of it while looking for it on my phone. Wow.
Ever have one of those moments? The ones where you’re using the flashlight on your phone to try to find your phone? The ones where you’re ON your phone telling someone how you’re scrambling trying to find your phone? The ones where you’re so focused on your GPS that you actually miss what you used your GPS to find?
Modern mobile technology is great. Wireless phones are mini-miracles that allow people to tap into a hive of endless information – the power of The Matrix in the palm of our hands. But the tunnel vision created by sapping all of our awareness to a small point of focus has led to a new phenomenon: Zombie Syndrome.
Zombie Syndrome, as I hereby name it, should not to be confused with Cotard Delusion – the mental illness in which the afflicted sincerely believe they are a zombie. Instead, we are talking about people using their own free will to turn off all awareness of the world around them and going through their day in a zombie like state of disconnection. This often happens after one sacrifices themselves to the tech, relying on the device to indicate when to do certain functions including “look up.” There are cases of people walking into traffic or off ledges because their phones were the only things they were focused on.
We at Attorney Computer Systems are certainly not ones to discourage the use of technology. That being said, it is important to recognize its limitations. My GPS can tell me exactly where the store is in relation to my phone; the software and hardware have that much reliability. However, for technology to be truly valuable we need to blend ourselves with it. The technology can give us the information, but it is still up to us to interpret the information and synthesize it with our everyday experiences. Yes, experiences, that is what makes us human after all (and not zombies).
Instead of viewing technology as something you conform to, rely on, and cannot live without, may I offer an alternative way to view our relationship with this technology? Technology is a trusted advisor, but you are the one who is being advised – you have an active role to play as the boss of this relationship with technology.
As the boss of the relationship, ask how technology can serve you. What can technology do to help make your decisions more informed? What can technology do to help remind you of your commitments and obligations? What can technology do to help you choose a route to take when you’re trying to find a store?
What I’m suggesting is that you remember the simple fact that you, yes you, are the sentient being here that is using technology. You are the master in this relationship and you should retake your power over technology. In short – WAKE UP. Wake up and think about the information you now have at your fingertips.
Gone are the days where you sit there feebly hoping and praying that your technology is going to work for you this time. Gone are the days where you blame your technology for getting you lost on your way to visit a client. Today is the day we can start thinking again!
It is when we have this type of relationship with technology that technology becomes truly valuable. If you want a report done a particular way, then create the demand for the report to be created the way you want it. If you want to take the scenic route to your destination, then you take that scenic route because your GPS cannot enjoy the scenery anyway – it’s just a darn piece of code stuck in a tiny box.
Many people talk to me about how they believe people are addicted to their devices. I disagree. I think the people who have a compulsion to get lost inside their devices simply have the desire to get lost in something – they prefer getting lost in a tiny device instead of taking charge of themselves and their surroundings. While that may be their choice, it does not need to be your choice. You can choose to have a healthier relationship with the technology in your life.
Why am I so passionate about this topic? Because I’m like a relationship counselor who specializes in people’s relationship with their technology. If you have an unhealthy relationship, it is my advice to seek some help.
The next time you see somebody like me wandering around the street looking at their phone, use their misfortune as your reminder to wake up. Wake up. Wake up. Then smile because you have a world of wonderful technology just waiting to serve you today.
Paul Purdue is a principal at Attorney Computer Systems. He’s a self-proclaimed “infrastructure nerd.” Check out Paul’s growing library of legal technology articles and videos on Attorney Computer Systems’ web site.