Willingly, unwillingly, or unwittingly?

I read Gopnik’s article . . . a few times to be honest, just to get a better understanding of the categories—Never-Betters, Better-Nevers, Ever-Wasers. It all seemed convoluted until I identified the underlying thread running through it. After much deliberation, I simplified the essence of these categories into fearless-optimists, cautious-pessimists and wary-pragmatists.

The interaction between man and technology is complex, to say the least. When it comes to technology, we all engage with it willingly, unwillingly, or unwittingly on daily basis. Depending on our age, education, experience, involvement and inquisitiveness, we can move from one category to another during different phases of our lives.

Gopnik says, “Yet surely having something wrapped right around your mind is different from having your mind wrapped tightly around something. What we live in is not the age of the extended mind but the age of the inverted self.” I agree with Gopnik here. I remember the thrill of sending my first e-mail. How readily I had accepted this gift of internet and have embraced everything that has come my way so far. But I no longer find myself wrapped tightly around technology; rather, I would describe it as a friendly-hug. I understand technology and what it does for me. I also understand the blurring lines of consent, as far as my conscious participation is concerned.  I am clearly an Ever-Waser.

Change is inevitable, both inside and outside of us. We can’t stop it, resist it or control it. But we can be aware of it. We’re a minute part of this virtual socio-economic platform. But it is we, who make the internet what it is. By way of our social media interaction, buying or selling patterns, search prompts, personal opinions and other virtual footprints, we contribute to the collective database that drives the virtual network. Somewhat similar to how our society has been evolving over thousands of years. Ultimately, our society is a product of our collective consciousness.

I am increasingly aware of how technology is impacting me. Even as I get pulled deeper into the web, I am developing a filter to keep the arms of technology at bay. For now, I am navigating through technology, as opposed to simply flowing with it. But I am not discounting a day when I would likely seek my non-existent grandchildren, to explain a certain piece of technology to me, or to warn them against the malice of virtual world, or to simply regale the experience of living through an era that is re-defining the scope of learning and how we learn it.

Anumeha Gokhale



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