So you want to live, right?
Well, from my perspective, and I will go through them all, we have to make a few choices this year that could extend our lives or shorten our lives related to tech and its insidious entry into our lives. I am talking about decisions on TVs, electronics, phones, tablets, watches, notebooks and air this and air that.
This holiday season my wife bought me a Samsung Smartwatch. It is not as high-end as the Apple, and it’s no FitBit. I am not even sure if I got that product’s name correct. I just know that FitBit won’t be around very long, like BetaMax. There is something different going on with Smartwatches and I predict you will see more and more people with them on their wrist in 2016!
What I do know is the moment I put that Smartwatch on my wrist a couple of monumental things happened. One thing of course is the fact that I suddenly had a screen that I could easily look over and tap. Yes, you can make a beautiful watch screen and easily flip it out with another beautiful watch screen. You can get your email, your text messages, check the weather, check your heart rate, and you can even make a call right through your wristwatch.
It all sounds good, but suddenly I realized that every time I get a text message my arm buzzed. Still not too bad, but I started to have a realization that I am now physically connected to the Internet in a way I have not yet been connected before. And it is something very different. I even wore it to bed one night and let it track my heart-rate all night. Yes, there are a ton of innovative things going on here, but still I am not convinced it is all for the good.
Usually our phones bleep and ring (My ring as people who know me plays “Happy” and for some people “Frozen”). When my phone goes off I just get up and check it out. But now I just hold up my arm and look at the blinging thing.
Ok, so how can having this wearable electronics be a life altering decision. Well, I realized and so did my wife that if I am driving, and this thing, which is fully connected with my phone via Blue Tooth, starts bleeping, I am going to be tempted to reach over and click it with my free hand and fingers. At that point, whamo bamo, I will be in an accident.
So the first issue with this smartwatch is, it is going to get somebody hurt bad and in trouble. We have enough distractions with our phones in cars now. I try to put my phone aside and ignore it while driving, but trust me the entire road is filled with people just like me, weaving back and forth as they check messages. We are in a sorry state before this “wearable” electronic item came along.
The second issue is it is time to get out and read a book, I mean an old fashion book and turn this electronic connectivity off. We are getting dumber because of the Internet similar to what happened with TV. It may seem that we can get dribs and drabs quickly through our Smartphones and Tablets, but we are not actually reading more. We are reading less, because we are in a sound-byte culture now.
I personally think that we are losing our reading habits, for many reasons. I used to get the Wall Street Journal and New York Times. Now I don’t because they would just pile up around me. So I thought. I was on the Internet at the time officer! Honest, should have kept the papers flowing. There is a difference between reading a hard copy book, magazine and newspaper and reading through your Kindle. I got used to a product called “UB Reader” on my Samsung, but once again I realized that I really want to hold a book!
The third issue is our health. I think all these electronics are leading to us wanting and needing to get back on the computer and respond instead of tuning it out. We are impacting our mental health by never disconnecting. My father used to come home from work at 5pm and nobody was pinging and texting him. We are in a new world order where we can get away.
More and more of us are gaining weight because the electronics lead to being sedentary and we know it. And the other thing my wife and I noticed is all of us that work in the world of electronics and computers are losing our vision earlier and earlier in life. Suddenly we both could not read the fine print on anything in the house. It was not like a slow process. It just hit us hard suddenly. Imagine you worked in front of a screen for 25 years. I have. We have to watch our backs, our eyes and make time for exercise.
So, as we enter 2016 I look at this smartwatch on my hand and wonder, how do we find time to turn it all off!
Good luck everybody and hope to see you at some of our StartupPOP events in South Florida over the next year. Have a great New Years if you read this article!