Wed, 07 Jun, 2023

Beware of the Tech 'Boxes'

By Ruby Shrestha

“It is highly conceivable that humans are going to be enslaved by the technologies that they devise.”

I vividly remember, I was in my 5th grade when I read this very statement (actually, not this very statement; it was the Nepali translation and it was quoted in one of the chapters titled 'YANTRA MANAV' (‘ROBOTS’ in English) of my grade five Nepali Book). In 2005, when I was a fifth grader, I really did not believe that statement, since during that time technology had not heated up to the level it has now. Oh wait, that sounds wrong. Let me put it this way: 'I' was not enchanted by the enthralling aura of technology when I was a kiddo and so, I really couldn’t relate to the bitter yet true meaning that the statement was trying to imply. However, now I do; I really understand what the author of that essay titled ‘ROBOTS’ was trying to connote.

At present, I share, what I feel to be, an eternal bond with my laptop. My day starts with this little one. Right after my breakfast, that is, after I get charged on for the day, my laptop gets charged  too. I better say charged off, since there rarely is presence of electricity in my homeland which is blessed with the sweetness of load shedding for my little one to stay on charge at every moment. Furthermore, except for the core human survival stuff namely, insertion and excretion of food from the body, I feel everything can possibly be done when my laptop is around me. Be it related to entertainment or study or enhancement of general knowledge, maintenance of relationship, budding up of friendship or rivalry or simple day-to-day communication, almost anything can be achieved when I’ve my laptop coupled with Wi-Fi. Even when there are power cuts and the battery of my little one is soon to diminish, I run straight to my hero, “Inverter”, to make sure that my relationship with my little one is not halted. If in case it does, I lean onto my next bestie, my cell-phone. My grandpa, who’s kind of two generations older than me, does not seem to understand this relationship and he’s always pulling me away from it. To quote an example, yesterday, he was insisting upon me to come out in the open to get some fresh air and not stay stuffed in my room with that ‘box’ (‘box’: yes, that was how he referred to my laptop). Not willing to disregard his words, I went out in the open, but could not stay for longer than 10 minutes. I was literally bored!

That’s usually how my weekend gets used up by some technologies around me. I bet same is the case with majority of individuals like me. I am telling this with some level of certainty because almost all of my friends are either online on social media, or if not, they’re either dipped into some tutorial sites learning about some other technologies, or taking in makeup and dress up tips, posting pictures and videos online, or shopping online, or watching series, or playing games on computers. They’re doing one thing or another using one or the other available and reachable technologies. Let alone my friends, my little sister who is just 6 years old plays online games; she inconspicuously takes away my cell phone when her brother takes away his laptop away from her hands; my mother watches Tele-serials online; my uncle is usually found to be watching stock market values in the afternoon on his iPad and when the Wi-Fi goes down, he starts complaining.

Drawing a conjecture from the scenes I normally come across on a day-to-day basis, I believe, almost every one of us can clearly feel technologies gripping us all. However, we rarely do act against it since it has become normal to us and has taken a significant place in our lives. Moreover, I feel, technology gives us that appealing taste which we can hardly refrain from. And yes, I do agree with Kundan Shumsher Rana on “Your gadget knows you better than your friends and family.

Nevertheless, I will be wrong if I say that we just cannot lead an in-person life that our ancestors used to because whatever conjectures I’ve drawn are the result of my limited view. I reckon things and conclusions can be different if the domain of view is made broad enough.  Some examples like offline libraries, hard copy books which are way better and preferred to their softcopy replica, outdoor sports, adventure games, tours and travels, in-person dating and gathering of friends and family... justify that we’re not completely swallowed up by technology. Human life is still not entirely lost.

Hence, what we got to do is preserve the non-tech activities that we carry out and not let their beauty fade away by the tech ‘boxes’ that we have embedded in our lives.