Welcome to cognitive loss

The Digital Alarmist

In our craze to stay connected with family and friends, eagerly awaiting the latest gossip, our bodies have become disconnected from us. Our fingers do all the walking. Our vocal chords have been rendered mute, our ears stuffed, our eyes supplanted by cameras and our taste buds rendered ineffective by the latest fast foods. Our brains, of course, have been stricken with memory loss.

Seems like we have all become handicapped to some degree or another. Each one of us requiring special accommodations to forge our individuality.

In case you are wondering where I am going with this, please be patient. Reading takes time.

Digital devices, in general, and smart phones, in particular, have severely impacted our cognitive skills, our language skills, our navigational skills, our arithmetic skills and our ability to retain information in our brains. The following examples will convince you, I hope. If it doesn’t, your critical thinking skills have deserted you as well.

If you are focused on the selfie you are taking in front of Taj Mahal instead of gazing at it with your own eyes, do you really need your eyes? Camera phones are getting better all the time.

Ear buds on and seated across the table from your friend at a restaurant, you are looking down at your smart phone without uttering a word. Conversation? None because your companion is also doing the same thing. You have been rendered mute and deaf at the same time. Maybe it is time you read “Reclaiming Conversation” by MIT cognitive psychologist Sherry Turkle.

If you are an afficionado of Twitter, spelling doesn’t matter. However, if you are composing a document using Microsoft Word, spelling and grammar do matter. Word is only too anxious to improve your writing skills because it thinks it is intelligent and can read your mind. Not true. Word often gets things wrong. But how would you ever know?

If you are waiting at a busy street corner in rush hour traffic, waiting for the Ola driver to pick you up and your phone goes dead, what will you do? All your contact information is on the phone and you haven’t bothered to memorize any telephone numbers or addresses. Maybe even your own. Printed maps are no longer available, and you have always relied on GPS or Ola to navigate your way around town. Perhaps you should walk. If you only knew how. But wait. Your belly might get in the way. All those potato chips you consumed, endlessly watching Netflix movies being streamed on your smartphone.

Mapquest can show you the shortest route, the routes with no tolls. But how about the most scenic route? Not a chance. Neither efficient nor productive to present that option, I assume.

By the way, what is 16 times 20? If you need a calculator, you have lost your arithmetic skills as well. You are hopeless.

Instead of looking down at the screen, look up at the blue sky or look out the window or look into the eyes of your children. With your own eyes. If you can’t, I’ll look down on you. I do not own a smart phone. According to my terms of service and privacy policy, you are allowed to call me a Luddite and share this juicy bit of information with your family and friends on Facebook.

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