The downside of technology

The downside of technology

Although technology has allowed us to find any place on the planet by using Google Maps or manage our finances from out smart phone, there's also a downside to technology.

Although having a GPS might be very practical to find a destination while navigating unfamiliar routes, constantly looking down at a GPS app while driving might lead cause an accident as it distracts the driver from watching the road.

According to a study published in 2012 in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, the human brain has a limited capacity in processing information at one time. Therefore, a GPS app might distract the driver from focusing on the road as they try to recall the on-screen directions, increasing the risk of accidents.

Hearing someone next to you talking on a phone might be distract you from what you are doing. According to a study by the University of San Diego, in this situation the brain tries to fill in the blanks in a halfalog - one half of a conversation. When this happens, people find it hard to concentrate on their present activity.

Although kindles have made available almost any you book you can think of anywhere and anytime, according to a study published on Research Gate, people who read a short story printed on paper are more likely to remember more details compared to those who read it on a Kindle.

The study's lead researcher from the University of Stavager in Norway, Anne Mangen, said that those reading on paper also have a tactile sense of progress as they touch and manipulate the pages. The experience is not the same with a kindle, as you flip through digital pages with the swipe of a finger.

[The differences for Kindle readers] might have something to do with the fact that the fixity of a text on paper, and this very gradual unfolding of paper as you progress through a story, is some kind of sensory offload, supporting the visual sense of progress when you're reading, said Mangen.

Although autocorrect might be very convenient at times as it fixes typos and it corrects mistakes, it might worsen your grammar and proofreading skills. Apparently, the brain is able to understand words as long as the first and last letters are correct. Nonetheless, once the brain grows familiar with typos and grammar mistakes, people may stop seeing the difference between what's correct and what's wrong. This phenomenon might lead to failure in noticing their own mistakes while proofreading.

Detractors, including industry leaders, scientists and scholars, argue that the abuse of technology in our daily lives may hinder contemplative thought, conversation, patience and a sense of play previous generations enjoyed.

Endless hours under the influence of hyper-connectivity might hinder human attention and depth of discourse. Meanwhile, shorter attention spans and a need for instant gratification can make it harder to concentrate on and solve complex problems. Always being online can affect genuine human interaction among friends and family.

Multitasking and spending just 140 characters or less on a topic has led to a distracted generation without direction or the ability engage in deeper thinking.

According to Mashable, technology has also altered our sleeping habits. Technophiles are used to falling asleep with their laptops nearby after watching an episode on Netflix on catching with friends on social media. Other read an episode of a book on their Kindle. Those habits might be keeping us from getting enough sleep. Some neuroscientists argue that the light emitted by electronic devices' screens might mess with your body's internal light cues and sleep-inducing hormones.

Although technology may have negative effects on our brain, it makes it easier for artists and non-artists alike to engage with creative media. According to author Clay Shirkey, social media prompts users to engage with texts, images and videos in a way that simply watching television doesn't. As social media encourages users to share images and words with a community, they feel more inclined to create and share something of their own, which includes but is not limited to a Flickr album, a book review, a contribution to Wikipedia or a DIY project.

"We do things because they're interesting, because they're engaging, because they're the right things to do, because they contribute to the world," said Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, in a conversation with Wired and Shirkey.

"Once we stop thinking of all that time as individual minutes to be whiled away and start thinking of it as a social asset than can be harnessed, it all looks very different," said Shirkey. "The buildup of free time among the world's educated population — maybe a trillion hours per year — is a new resource."