I’ve been writing about the technology industry for much of this decade, and now I have an awkward admission: I’ve fallen out of love with technology.
When I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area about six years ago as a technology journalist, I was struck by the feeling that this was the only remaining American industry not experiencing an existential crisis. Tech folks tend to be optimistic about what they do and the future in general, and that feeling was contagious.
Lately, I’ve tried to avoid going on social media in the evenings because there’s so much anger and it makes me anxious. And when I’m walking, cycling and driving, my phone stays in my pocket 100 per cent of the time. There’s also zero chance I’m going to buy one of those voice-activated speakers from Amazon or other tech companies. Too creepy. My loss of faith hasn’t spread widely, but I fear the rethinking of technology’s great promise is only beginning.
The downsides aren’t confined to social media, which has been in the eye of the storm recently. People are talking about the pernicious effects of personal information concentrated in the hands of a few companies, about robots taking human jobs and about technology addiction.
Ten years after the release of the first iPhone, we’re over the initial wonder of it all and are beginning to grapple with how smartphones affect our communities, our personal safety and basic human interaction.
One example: I was gobsmacked by a recent radio report about schools that are teaching smartphone-addicted young people how to have loving relationships IRL (that’s “in real life” to analogue readers), and coaching them to ask people out on dates face-to-face.
Then there’s iGen, a generation of young people who have grown up with smartphones and are on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades, according to the Atlantic.
– Shira Ovide
Read more: Falling Out of Love With Technology
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