In next week’s Which? Tech podcast, Stephen Fry will be chatting to us about the gadgets he regularly uses. But, as I look at my own growing list of time-saving devices, I wonder; are there any adverse side effects?
Psychologist Dr Aric Sigman is concerned that we’re not just becoming addicted to our technology, (or at least forming an unhealthy dependency on it), but that its overuse is fundamentally changing the way our brains work.
In the forthcoming Which? Tech podcast, Stephen Fry claims that ‘the option is open for anybody to simply turn their back on this [tech] world and say: “I want nothing to do with it”’. But is technology really that easy to give up?
Too attached to our tech
The Which? Tech team have listed the gadgets they couldn’t live without, suggesting that weaning themselves off their mobile phones and tablets wouldn’t be as easy as they think.
So perhaps it’s best we nip this mind-altering trend in the bud, and focus on preventing people from taking up new technologies in the first place. We could even find this prolongs the existence of more traditional formats, such as the newspaper, the paperback and FM radio.
However, I personally believe that technology makes life’s experiences richer. In our podcast, Stephen Fry claims that his laptops make him more productive, while John Meehan from In Publishing magazine argues that you may face irrelevance if you fail to take up Twitter.
We asked Which? members which gadgets they owned – see the infographic for the results.
An evolutionary shift
As more and more essential services move online, the non-connected world will be left further and further behind. So instead of ignoring the developments around us, maybe we need to embrace them and consider the potential shift in our brains’ make-up as a necessary evolutionary step.
After all, throughout humankind’s existence, there have been new developments that have irreversibly changed the way our brains work: developments that may have been sneered upon at the time but are now accepted and celebrated. Perhaps it’s simply our ability to scientifically detect these changes now that leads to greater concern than before.
Laptops make us lazy
Unfortunately, as Dr Sigman points out, changing the way we think isn’t the only side effect that can arise from the increase in technology. He thinks that, for some, heavy tech use brings with it a more sedentary life, which can lead to type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
It will come as no surprise that I’m not a doctor, and I concede that the potential neurological changes may be more serious than a simple adaptation to a changing lifestyle. But, for what it’s worth, I prescribe a balanced life of technology and physical activity. If followed, my prognosis is a healthy, productive future enriched by technology.
Do you have any tech you couldn’t live without? Do you find you lead a less active lifestyle because of your favourite gadgets?
Don’t miss our Tech Podcast on Tuesday 29 May, where Stephen Fry will be telling us all about the gadgets he can’t live without.