OPINION: Navigating a technology-heavy future – The Collegian – Collegian Media Group

Technology is advancing. Students hold more information at their fingertips than ever before. With this newfound access, though, we need to consider the consequences of what we’re exposing ourselves to.
I urge you to investigate AI further. Given the rapid growth of AI influence in our lives, it is appropriate we have discussions on achieving a balance. To clarify, it’s not in my interest to convert the reader to any one ideology; I am merely giving my respectful and, I would hope, educated enough opinion on how to navigate cyberspace. 
Given classroom rhetoric, establishing a doctrine for confronting entire libraries’ worth of information is critical. I will outline a series of philosophical tools, ideologies and ideas on how to share a peaceful co-existence between man and machine. 
Technological Purgatory
Our cellphones and computers give us instant gratification. Books, in contrast, offer us little in terms of speed — even for the most advanced speed readers. We can trek across years of advanced study from online databases while the standard book, with its heavy weight and lack of pictures, can seem intimidating to scholars. 
Even with the dusty outward appearance, I offer a defense of books. Picking up the pencil and literally making your mark is effective for both study and pleasure reading. It’s hard to comprehend a time before cell phones, but the written word was the standard for most of recorded history.
Historical Literacy
Historically, to have the privilege of literacy was rare. Unless you were a member of the clergy or royalty, it was highly unlikely you even knew how to write your name. Fortunately, literacy rates have only been rising progressively, and now we find ourselves in the most literate time on record. It’s easy to assume computers only make it easier for literacy to increase. I argue against this assumption. 
A transition to a fully online society could prove hazardous, especially as we confront bias and even outright disinformation. We can be consumed and victimized by our own propaganda. Artificial intelligence is, after all, artificial. It’s a creation of man designed for man and therefore is biased — at a much grander scale. 
The generation to come is in danger of having no concept of writing. This form of literacy could be lost to screen-based technology. So, we find ourselves in a state of technological purgatory — a state in which we are caught between instant gratification and slow learning. 
Occam’s Razor
Occam’s Razor is a scientific tool that says the best option is the simplest one. The answer with the fewest number of parts or fewest steps is what should always be chosen. Da Vinci said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” according to Goodreads. Occam’s Razor could help minimize our information intake to something more manageable. 
Too much information can be as jeopardizing as having too little. To avoid this problem, we should read slowly and recognize what the heart of the information, idea or philosophy says.
A New Drive
The question now is how to find balance. People use social technology as a form of escapism; given the pace of the contemporary world, this makes sense. If we’re hounded by family issues, social divisions and additional stressors, it’s understandable we escape to our feed, check out new Amazon products or watch arguments unfold in a comment section. 
This behavior is seemingly innocent, but we should wonder what psychological factors are at play. In a sense, we are using time-consuming AI products to intellectually escape instead of expand. 
Instead of using social feeds to spread uplifting and good news of technological or medical advancements, we start to take on the negative emotions triggered by things we see in our feeds. A newfound fear is guiding our lives: the idea that the world is plainly mean. 
According to John D. Boswell and Protocol Labs, Richard Feynman, a physicist and thinker, said, “What we’re looking for is how everything works, what makes everything work. It has to do with curiosity. It has to do with people wondering what makes something do something.” 
There’s an essential curiosity all scholars need. Perhaps curiosity should dictate our actions online. We are, after all, blessed to possess such extraordinary technology. We should let it drive our actions instead of simply seeking pleasure.
I advocate for a lifestyle balanced between book and screen. Let’s find long-term relief from the quick-paced bias of a fully online society and make books commonplace. Using Occam’s Razor to our advantage, we can learn to scan overt amounts of information. We can limit our exposure to AI and instead focus on our social and literary connections. We lower our risk of confirmation bias and leave an indelible mark on our minds by limiting our time with screens. 


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