Carr’s argument centered around the drawbacks of living so close with technology. So much so that I was thinking about the role of technology in our lives as a black and white problem. I was focused on whether the benefits of technology outweigh the impact it may have on us as people. I should have been thinking of an alternate way from which to view Carr’s argument. Technology is not so much a part of our society that we need to decide whether to accept or reject, it is the reality of the way we live our lives now. We should be treating technology as an inevitable human progression and embracing it as an extension of ourselves. Technology is embedded in our lives and we need to learn to wield it, despite generational differences in aptitude for tech. In the 21st century humans can be their own navigational system, personal shopper, entertainment, librarian, teacher, scribe, weatherperson, and pimp without having any of those skills or abilities. All we need to do is whip out our phones. In a way because we have these tools, goods, information, and services right at our fingertips the average person is already a Renaissance man (or woman) without even trying. With these assets at our fingertips basically from birth, it begs the question: Are we on the cusp of discovering more than we ever thought possible because of our connection with technology?
What spurred these thoughts were Carr’s words about the nature of human brain to adapt with advancements so much so these tools become an extension of our body. “When a carpenter picks up a hammer, the hammer becomes, so far as his brain is concerned, part of his hand. When a soldier raises a pair of binoculars to his face, his brain sees through a new set of eyes, adapting instantaneously to a very different field of view.”
He goes on to present Scott Frey’s words about our capacity as people to “blur the boundary” between the body and the instrument. This blur is certainly an uncomfortable change, (as most changes are) but I think the key to flourishing in this current state is to view technology as a springboard. By a springboard, I mean the beginning of a period of intellectual growth for our generation. We should stop trying to define the potential of technology as a positive or negative influence and utilize it for was it is: an inconceivable opportunity to grow.