Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Toward The Alienation World
A risible thing encountered on the way to the communication revolution, without we realize we stopped talking to one another. I hang out with my friend recently, and his mobile phone rang, interrupting our conversation. There we were, chatting and talking in a typical ‘mamak’ restaurant environment and suddenly! – I became invisible, absent from the conversation. The telephone used to connect you to the absent. Now it makes people sitting next to you feel absent. Recently, I was in a car with my siblings. My sisters shushed the rest of us because she could not hear the person on the other end of her mobile phone. There we were, three siblings zooming down the road, unable to talk one another because of a gadget designed to make communication easier.
Why is it that the more connected we get the more disconnect I feel? What I can say every new invention and advance in communication technology is a setback to the intimacy of human interaction. With e-mail and instant messaging over Internet, the forum and social networking website mushrooming years by years, we can now communicate without seeing or talking to one another. Sadly sometimes, we prefer to use SMS to communicate with person that just 50 meters away from us. Evidently, the unbound electronic voice is preferable to human contact.
As almost every conceivable contact between human being gets automated, the alienation index goes up. For instance, pumping petrol at the station? Why interact with the attendant when you can swipe your credit card at the pump and save yourself the bother of human contact. Making deposit at bank? Why talk to the teller who might live in the neighbourhood when you can just deposit your money at the bank’s deposit machine. Paying toll at the highway? Why bother to queue up at the cash lane and say thanks you to the toll gate girl :) when you already have the Touch n Go card or Smart Tag and etc.
Pretty soon, we won’t have the burden of making eye contact at every daily activity we have to encounter. At grocery shop for example, some supermarket chains are using a self-scanner so you can check yourself out, avoiding those checkout people who look at you and ask how you are doing. All these gee-whiz technology will make us to avoid human contact whether we realize it or not.
I’m not conservative. I own a mobile phone, ATM cards, email accounts and Touch n Go card. Giving them up isn’t an option, they’re great for what they’re intended to do. It is their unintended consequences that make me cringe.
The communication industry devoted to helping me keep in touch is making me lonelier or at least facilitating my antisocial instincts. So I’ve put myself on technology restriction: no SMS with people who live near me, no talking on mobile phone too long in the presence of friends and more importantly pay toll by cash in the presence of a beautiful toll gate girls muahahaha (devil laugh)..
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