We've become immersed in technology
June 1, 2015
by Mark Ollig

Has the Internet become the new society humans want to essentially live in?

I see you smiling out there, but I am serious.

It’s not just the Internet.

People’s minds are becoming absorbed inside their high-tech smartdevices – figuratively speaking, of course.

The millennials, and those who grew up with the Internet and new technology, easily embrace it, and are a bit more comfortable around it than those of us from the “boomer” generation.

We boomers, however, are excellent observers, innovators, thorough researchers, and are able to adapt; so never count us out.

While writing today’s column, I began thinking about how many of us have become, do I dare say “addicted” to our cellphones, laptops, iPads, and other smartdevices.

Truth time: How many of you, before going to sleep, place your iPad, computing tablet, or smartphone on the nightstand next to your bed?

I do, too.

If I wake up during the middle of the night, I’ll grab my smartphone and go to Facebook and Twitter.

I’ll also check for any instant messages, or see if there is any late-breaking news posted on the CNN website.

Once, around 2:30 a.m., I posted an update on my Facebook page, and it immediately received two likes.

This made me feel less guilty about being on social media at that hour, and I eventually went back to sleep.

In this day and age, more young people are immersing themselves inside 3D (three-dimensional) virtual reality computer gaming software programs.

They spend countless hours playing inside these virtual 3D games; sometimes competing with multiple users while connected to the Internet via devices such as Sony Corporation’s PlayStation console.

“The Matrix,” a movie from 1999, depicted humans living out their physical lives inside a shell-like pod, with their minds hard-wired to a computer-generated, surrealistic virtual reality.

Morpheus is a character from this movie; and in 2016, Sony will be selling a new virtual reality (VR) helmet, interestingly enough called: Morpheus.

It seems wherever I go, people have become totally preoccupied with their smartdevices.

Last Saturday morning, I stopped at the local coffeehouse and ordered my usual coffee beverage: A depth charge (black coffee spiked with a shot of espresso), with added light roast, and heavy cream – not half-and-half cream.

I make sure the barista uses the cream out of the quart container saying: “Ultra Pasteurized Heavy Cream.”

Yes, I know. Yours truly is such a stickler – but a splash of heavy cream does make a big difference in the taste of my favorite brew . . . and besides, it’s low-carb.

The person taking my order looked down while pressing keys on the touchscreen of the coffeehouse’s POS (Point of Sale) computer register terminal.

I imagine this register terminal was connected to the coffeehouse’s local computer, which was probably networked to their corporate headquarters computer.

Glancing back at the seating area, I noticed how everyone’s attention in the coffeehouse was focused on the particular electronic device each was using.

Some of the tables in the coffeehouse seated only one customer; others had two, but each person was using a laptop, tablet, or a smartphone.

It was exceptionally quiet, there was no verbal conversations going on, just the occasional calls from a barista of an “order up,” and the sporadic keyboarding clicks of someone using a laptop computer.

Two people seated across from each other at one table were smiling (but not talking) while typing away on their Apple laptops.

I would not have been surprised if they were actually text messaging with each other.

The baristas’ eyes were also fixated on a computer display screen.

I noted how often they looked at the monitor display screens near the coffee/espresso machines.

These monitors showed customer coffee orders needing to be completed.

The customers waiting in line for their coffee were either text messaging, or interacting on an Internet social media site from a smartdevice.

No one was talking; it was eerily silent.

I suppose some people have just become more comfortable conversing using text messaging or social media, rather than directly speaking with each other.

After picking up my 20-ounce to-go cup filled with its precious coffee goodness, I approached the front door and observed a young person entering – he was staring fixedly down at his smartphone; appearing oblivious to anyone else.

I smiled at him, and cheerfully said; “Good morning!” He paused for a moment, slowly looked up at me, smiled back, and said; “Good morning to you, too.”

This brief verbal interaction broke the silence, confirming courteous, face-to-face human communication is still alive and well – at least in this instance.

As I walked outside of the coffeehouse, I paused to look up at the deep-blue morning sky, felt the slight cool breeze, and enjoyed the comforting sunshine while sipping my coffee.

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