Technology – Enslaving or Our Slave?

On Monday my Op-Ed was published in the Los Angeles Times! In the last several months I have had the pleasure of working with editors at some pretty brag-worthy publications, though with the LA Times I can’t help but devote an entire blog post to my bragging. Shameless, I know. For those who missed it, […]

via I was Published in the L.A. Times — Jamison Writes

I am sharing here a blog post by Jamison Hill on how he lives by his smartphone

WHEN I WROTE TWO BLOG POSTS LAST MONTH ON MY SMARTPHONE, I THOUGHT IT was something unique. I found some write and  many read their blogs on smartphones.

I had to do it as, on a  trip to a far away city I left behind my laptop and thought of using in its place my iPad , which I had to carry anyway for the photographs stored in it.  And then I found that while my smartphone could log on to the Wifi of the place I was staying at, my iPad, for some reason could not.

I had, earlier, put out several posts on the way people become addicted to social media like Facebook and WhatsApp to the extent of losing touch with people and how, on many social occasions, people, including children, are glued to their smartphones instead of playing or talking. Will Homo Sapiens next evolve into  Homo WhatsAppian ?, I asked

The posts had pictures of children engrossed with mobile phones and one was about a young man who courted on the web and married, sending out invitations online, losing touch with people till his wife was critical in hospital and he had no none to share his grief with.

In a post on caring for the aged, I mentioned a robot which would be used to take care of the old and named it ‘Geribot’ (geriatric-care robot).

The posts created the impression that the technology which gave us these very useful tools was making people its slaves instead of being our slave. And today I came across a blog by Jamison Hill, a 28-year-old man who had been bedridden since two years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) —  ME or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis  in medical terms.

Jamison, in what he called “shameless bragging,” wrote of his article ‘Staying Alive by Smartphone’  being published in Los Angeles Times (I can understand the thrill – I recall they day my first byline appeared in print when I was 16). Those calling smartphones addictive and causing dependence were  wrong in generalising, he wrote.  Many agreed with  with him – including some who also found smartphones  essential for their lives.

Receiving a business degree from Sonoma State University,  Jamison has devoted most of his work to writing. He has written for, among others, Vox, Men’s Journal, Quartz, The Oregonian,  Bustle and The Bold Italic. He is also featured in Forgotten Plague, a full-length documentary about ME/CFS, a debilitating disease inflicting millions of people worldwide.

He wrote, “The truth is, my needs would not be met without my smartphone. I do not dispute that some people, myself included, use their smartphone way too much. But I don’t have a choice. It’s either use it or not have my needs met.”  A difficult choice.

It reminded me of my posting in the 1980s, as the chief of a news agency bureau where a predecessor had a son suffering from muscular dystrophy -a group of diseases, often (but not necessarily) genetic– in which muscles progressively weaken and stop functioning, starting  usually in the feet resulting in inability to walk. It then slowly spreads upwards, till it reaches the heart and stopping it, causing death.

The young man, by coincidence, also used to write articles till the inevitable end came.I had joined the boy’s father in meeting doctors for a cure, only to find none existed.

There were no smartphones then. And  I hope Jamison gets cured soon.

 

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