I am a person who loves a good snooze; I even set my alarm an hour earlier than I need to so that I can get a snooze in before I have to get up. Whilst snoozing this morning, I wondered what people must have done before alarm clocks; did they miss out on the wonders of a snooze? I guess they must have done. So, technology has brought into my life the joy of a snooze. Of course, snoozing for an hour in the morning isn’t really the best use of my time, and I decided to try and wean myself off. I even went so far as to buy myself a Lumie Bodyclock Wake Up light, so I could wake up naturally to the (fake) sunrise in my room. Unfortunately, my very expensive wake up light has a snooze button! So now I sleep whilst my room gets lighter, wake up to the alarm, press the snooze button so the light goes off and slowly comes on over the next ten minutes, then hit the snooze button again. Tech has not managed to solve this problem.
Are there any other problems tech has created in our modern, tech-filled world? And has it also then tried to solve the problem (successfully or not)?

I’ve always wanted a pair of Spongebob trainers!!!

Spongebob Trainers
Shoes from mypaintedshoes.com

The ability the internet has to empty my bank account every month is definitely a problem, and looking at the economy at the moment, I don’t think it’s a problem solely felt by myself. There is just no way I would spend so much money on things I don’t really need, if the internet didn’t exist. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet, and think it has done many wonderful things, but enabling me to shop, anytime, anywhere, is not one of its personal highlights. It’s even enabled me to get a new credit card without doing anything except fill in a few details online, and ten days later, ta-da! More shopping for me. Ok, so the internet has also made it a lot easier for me to check my bank account and keep a track of my spending, but, in my opinion, this does not counteract the damage done.

iPhone-itis

iPhone handcuffs
Photo courtesy of Reader’s Digest

Ever left the house feeling like you’ve forgotten something? And you just can’t shake that feeling? I would be willing to bet a lot of money it won’t be your smartphone you’ve forgotten. Mine is permanently within my reach. There’s a lot of data stored on there that I would have a real issue if I lost. Usernames, passwords, phone numbers, blog ideas, to-do lists, etc. It has access to every aspect of my life, my emails, my work, my banking. I see the fact that I am essentially downloaded onto my smartphone as a problem. It is a non-attached, physical extension of me, and it can be lost. Luckily, I can now backup all the data I can’t do without onto the cloud, accessible anywhere there’s an internet connection. So technology has managed to successfully solve this problem for me, although not the weird dependency I feel towards a piece of metal.

Sofa Bunny

Sofa Bunny
I am a member of my local gym, and as I have a triathlon coming up, I do actually go. I also own a PS3 and a wii and have almost every keep fit peripheral for these consoles. My technology has decided that I am getting fat by sitting around playing with it, so now I need a game to play to correct this lack of motion. It’s not just the PS3 and the wii’s fault. I spend my entire day sitting, be it behind a desk, or on a train. But why aren’t we getting out and going to the gym, or to the pool, or for a run. These are much better for me than jogging on the spot in front of a screen, yet they don’t seem nearly as appealing. A game has been pointed out to me recently, an app for your smartphone that you use whilst running. The idea is you’re running away from zombies (there’s always zombies!), and you get a “grrroooaaagh” played through your headphones, over your music, whenever a zombie gets too close and you have to speed up (I’m unsure of the game title, but RunZombieRun <http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/runzombierun/id360168561?mt=8&gt; on the app store looks similar). So, tech kept us inside, decided we should exercise inside, and is now making it fun to exercise outside again! Confused!

I’m sure I used to know that……

My short term memory has always been particularly terrible, and I don’t know if it’s getting worse due to age, or due to the internet. However, I no longer retain any snippets of useless information; you do not want me on your pub quiz team. I will look up any question you ask me on my phone. I even found myself using a calculator to work out 80% of 100 the other day (I have a maths degree; this is something I should know!). Are we losing the ability to use our brains without the confirmation of a gadget? Even when I know the answer, I’m looking it up online. Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training for the DS was a huge success, is this because we are noticing the decline in our brain power, and are trying to do something about it, or is it just because we like to think ourselves mentally superior to our peers, and having a younger brain age than them is a good way to prove it? Maybe pub quizzes are the answer! No gadgets, and if I could just put down the beer, I might learn something.

Time, time, who’s got the time?

time time
The way I see it, the ultimate reason for functional technology is to save time. Example: We used to write letters, then we could send a telegram, now we can make a phone call, which is an infinitely faster method of communication. So now we have saved all this time, a new wave of technology is here, the technology that’s needed to help us fill all our extra time. My PS3 enables me to play games, record TV shows to watch that I would never usually watch (Don’t tell the bride, anyone?!?), and generally waste a lot of time.

 

I wonder what the next set of technology will do for us, or whether a break from technology is what’s really needed for our next step.
(Search for #firstworldproblems on twitter, very entertaining, and many more examples of this).