Do I Control Electronics or Do They Control Me?

Growing up as a kid, I was very technologically sound, and what kid isn’t these days? Everyday I walk around campus, everyone is on a smartphone, whether they are checking their e-mails, listening to music, or playing words with friends, technology has really impacted our everyday lives. I remember when I was younger and I got my first cell phone, all I used it for was calling my parents. Eventually, texting starting to become the next major thing. People weren’t calling each other anymore, they were texting each other. So what did I do, I got a new plan and got unlimited texts. Next, Blackberries became all the rage since you can now access the internet from your phone, which was a big deal for any kid growing up in the internet age. So I got a Blackberry and began to search the net from my phone and not from a computer. Then, a revolution broke out when I was in high school that would forever change our technological society, the iPhone.

Apple, known very famously for its computers and the overwhelming success of its iPods, decided to join the cell phone industry and changed the business completely. On this phone, you could have an app for your e-mails, an app for finances, an app that played guitar sounds, and even an app that could track your phones whereabouts even if you lost it. It was revolutionary on the grandest scale, and what did I do of course, I bought it. So I held in the palm of my hand, something that could  not only make phone calls and write texts, but an electronic device that could give me access to all my e-mails, finances, music, social media, video downloads, etc. Hell, I even have an app that  makes the phone a flashlight. I mean, even the flashlight industry took a hit because our smartphones now emit enough light to help us see in the dark, which is ridiculous. So what happened after?

Zombies. No not zombies in the sense that people are going around trying to eat humans for their flesh. I mean zombies as in people now have become brain dead and increasingly less social amongst each other when meeting physically. Every time I am out to dinner with friends, people are just constantly on their iPhones. And doing what you may ask? Playing a game, posting a Tweet, reading a blog; it’s ridiculous. I remember when I used to have full conversations with people, now and even including myself, we all just text or even send snapchats of ourselves for social communications. This product from Apple has completely changed our lives. Even now, computer sales are dropping as people are now switching from their Macs to iPads. So what’s next?

I know about Apple and their business methods. They use sweatshops to create their products and constantly change their products on a yearly basis just to increase sales and sometimes not even value of the product. Mike Daisy describes the horrors he saw in Chinese sweatshops and how terribly they treat their employees. Are sweatshops bad, of course they are. Do I feel terrible because I use products like Apple or Nike, where they use these kind of places to make their products, most definitely. Unfortunately, my technological addiction that I have developed over my entire life from these products has consumed me to the point where I block out the bad automatically and relish in the good. And I’m not the only one. Most people today believe sweatshops are terrible, but they still buy the products that these companies create. So why? It’s because we have created a new society where technology controls our lives and we have fallen victim to its vast innovative power. We are consumed by its sleek and innovative design and are astounding by what such a little item can do. But what did I lose in the process, am I now consumed completely to the point where this phone controls my life? What do you think?


12 thoughts on “Do I Control Electronics or Do They Control Me?

  1. I could really relate to this post and it is a sad reality to think about what society has come to. People literally walk into other people because everyone is so consumed with their smartphone. As crazy as it sounds, I think to some extent people are controlled by their phones. They stare at a tiny screen for hours upon hours and are tuned out to the real world. People lose that face to face contact and the interactive ability of talking on the phone because its easier to text them. Remember when our grandparents and parents wrote letters to people. what a crazy thought. I liked the term “zoombies” that you used because it is a very appropriate term for this situation. This products take over peoples lives and it is remarkable to think how one company completely changed our habits. I think that Apple is a special brand since so much media continues to surround the labor issue with sweatshops, but yet every additional iPhone sells out quicker than the last. All of the criticism attached with the sweatshops has not slowed down Apple sales so I wonder if anything can?

  2. Ironically enough, technology has made it so much easier to communicate with one another instantly via text messaging, video chats, and social media, yet we have lost our ability to actually connect with people. I can’t stand it when a group of friends are supposedly hanging out together, but are actually entirely consumed by their smartphones. It can be so much more convenient to send a quick text, but how much more efficient would it be to make a two minute phone call than a string of fifty texts back and forth? How much harder is it really to go knock on someone’s door rather than to text them “I’m here”? It is almost frightening how we can follow each other’s every thought and activity on twitter and facebook without ever holding an actual conversation. It’s crazy to think about Mike Daisey’s story of the iPhone pictures from inside the factory and how that bit of information could connect him to what was happening there in a way that no traditional media could. I am always trying to wrap my head around how technology is able to connect us and create distance between people at the very same time.

  3. Great post! Mine had many of the same ideas. I definitely think that our society is completely consumed by technology. I know for a fact that I would not be able to live without my cell phone. It is my life line to the world outside of the “Bucknell bubble” that we live in. I honestly think that I would go crazy. It’s sad, but true. I often wonder how my parents lived in their high school and college days without a phone or a laptop. How did they make plans? Cancel plans last minute? On another note, I also think that technology has made our society very lazy. We have the world at our finger tips. We can access unlimited information with the touch of a button. There honestly is almost no need for our library. Most students at Bucknell have probably never had the need to check out a book. Even though I think technological advancements have definitely contributed to our country’s outrageous obesity rates, I think that these technologies are necessary evils.

  4. I agree with you entirely on society’s dependence on technology, and how companies such as Apple clearly have an incredible influence over us. Once a new variation of an iPhone is released, I found myself wanting to have it, even though my previous iPhone is functioning perfectly. Apple has developed a way of hooking us on their products, to the point where we will buy the newest one just to have our hands on it. I mean, is there really a difference between the ipad 2 and the ipad mini, except that one is slightly smaller?
    But what I really enjoyed in your blog was the zombie analogy. Over winter break I was sitting in a restaurant and a group of teenagers were all sitting together a few tables from me. Instead of talking to each other, each one of them was on their phones talking to someone else. They were hardly acknowledging one another, to the point where they might as well have been sitting at different tables. Growing up, my parents instilled the lesson that using your phone at the dinner table was not allowed. Now, I sometimes even see my parents checking their phones for emails. It has definitely come to the point where society relies on my Apple products for everything, which makes me believe that they do have control over us.

  5. I am right there with you on our society’s dependency on technology. One of the things I want to expand on more is that Apple comes out with new technology just to increase sales. This “perceived obsolescence” contains many different externalities that many people neglect to notice. In reality, these products companies like Apple offer extremely similar to the product previous model. Through creative marketing, companies convince us that these products contain improvements that everyone must have. Specifically in technology, the industry grows extremely fast and improvements are constantly made. This causes people to throw out their old computer or electronic devise and buy the new one. It is an endless cycle that we constantly fall for. Not only emptying our pockets, this practice greatly harms the earth through a stream of constant waste always filling our finite land fill. Connect to this link to watch a short, but very informative view of perceived obsolescence.

  6. You make a really good point about how much society has changed recently. This past decade technology has boomed and it continues to boom. As computers get smarter they get smaller and more efficient. It almost seems like an exponential process. And while we’ve become zombies now – what does that mean for our future. I’ve heard different ideas about where technology is going – where it will be when we are 50 or 60. If we’re zombies now how much worse will it be in 20 or 30 years. Definitely a lot to think about – personally I try to still connect with people in “normal” ways rather than just through my iPhone. However there is no doubt that the iPhone has changed my life as I know it.

    • People are connected more socially using technology, but are less social once face to face. Technological social skills have increased dramatically, but I have noticed that people’s social skills in real situations have deteriorated.

      • I agree. It’s common nowadays to see two people “conversing” with each other but at the same time, both are on their phones texting other people. Kind of bizarre thinking about it.

  7. Zombies is a great way to put it. I struggle with this reality, too — that of people constantly on their phones and increasingly out of touch with what is going on around them. I deleted my Twitter account last year for this very reason…I couldn’t stand reading the countless number of pointless tweets that people were sending out and I started to think that mine were meaningless, too. However, I think there can be a healthy balance between using our ever-expanding technology and not using it, too. I began to realize that technology like Twitter can be extremely useful to communicate and learn from people, but I don’t have to devote all my time to it. In other words, there’s nothing wrong with using the technology that’s available to you, but there is something wrong with depending on it for your everyday life.

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