Jun 19, 2013

Articles on the Down Side of Technology

Here are a couple articles I saw recently related to technology and the church.

Why I Object to Screen Preaching - This gets into some good and bad reasons to object to preaching via screen, particularly the "multi-campus" model you see now.

Is Our Trust in Technology Trumping Our Natural Instincts? - Short, but makes you think about how interesting mistakes and spontaneity can be lost when we rely on our gadgets.

When We Hate What We Love - The title doesn't really match the point, which is our technology only draws out what was already in us.  More technology or less don't really change the core of who we are.

Scholars Sound the Alert From the 'Dark Side' of Tech Innovation - Though it rambles a bit, this article covers a conference this past May about the downsides of current technological innovations.

Jun 6, 2013

Why Does a Lack of Technology Surprise Us?

Recently my son asked me what online games I played when I was young.  I wish I had a picture of his face when I told him that such a thing didn't exist when I was growing up.  He had a mixture of surprise and amazement to think someone lived without this experience.  I explained I had stand-alone games (and got nostalgic for Sierra on-line and Lucasarts) like Minecraft, so I wasn't completely deprived.

This made me think about how I react to hearing stories of people with less technology than I have.  You might think of the Amish who choose this path, or stories from missionaries in far-flung places where even clean drinking water is scarce, or just back to the 1960's when we went to the moon on computers that are colossally out of date compared to a modern laptop.  I react the same way my son did: surprise, perhaps a bit of shock that whole groups of people do without the technology I have.

Why is that?  Why surprise?  I'd like to suggest two reasons.

One may be our cultural immersion.  We're so immersed in our own culture and the technology in it that we have difficulty even seeing the technology - it becomes invisible.  Most people in our culture have refrigerators and cell phones, so we don't think about it.  However, when they're gone we're surprised by the things that are suddenly visible by their absence.

Another, related reason may be our assumption of necessity of a particular technology.  We assume that we need a car, a grocery store, a refrigerator, etc. to be able to have eggs.  Not really.  A family in our church has a chicken coop and they have to give away eggs they get so many.  Or think of GPS systems in cars.  Maps and street signs lasted us several decades for navigation on the road.  If we haven't thought it through or seen otherwise, we may not realize that a certain technology isn't necessary and the same task can be done in another way.  Or, maybe that task isn't even necessary!

What about you?  Do you have a different reaction to a lack of technology?  Why?

Jun 4, 2013

Feel the need for digital detox?

I saw this article that describes a Digital Detox camp for adults. No cell phones, tablets, etc. and no talking about work.  Instead, the campers participate in essentially Boy Scout camp activities (though the reference to the 70's seems odd, considering it sounds like the camping experience my son and I shared just a few weeks ago).

Interesting quote:
"When you were a kid, your life was not dominated by the technology that it is now," he said. "We want to take people back to that easy state of living where their only concern is 'what's the next activity that I'm going to right now and what's going to be the next fun thing?'"
I take a little exception to this because our lives have been surrounded by technology for a long time.  However, I also take his point about being surrounded by screens & digital technology.   That technology demands (and gets) our attention and much of it is designed to automatically entertain us.  I think this kind of week fights against a couple things: mediated connections we think we have on social media, thinking "fun" can best be had via a relatively passive experience with a screen, and an attachment to work that eats into other parts of our lives.

Our family is going on vacation soon and we're going to leave the laptop & iPads behind.  I know we'll struggle with that, but we're taking board games and books and will hopefully remember how to have fun together without our screens in between us.