As technology develops, our skills change along with it. Not only does this means we have new skills to learn, but it also means that we have older skills that are no longer needed. When’s the last time you dipped a quill to write a letter?
This kind of thing can lead to memes like this one; while the second half of it is a separate discussion ( perhaps caused by the previous generation; after all, “most safety rules are written in blood”), we should be happy that people no longer have to adjust the valves in their car.
In his book “ The Design of Everyday Things “, author Don Norman explains how this is a benefit to all of us:
Reliance on technology is a benefit to humanity. With technology, the brain gets neither better nor worse. Instead, it is the task that changes. Human plus machine is more powerful than either human or machine alone.
I agree with Norman’s statement, though I do wonder if we get a little overreliant on technology at times. I know personally that I’d have no idea what tomorrow holds without a digital calendar, and there are few places outside a small radius that I could drive to without GPS.
Ultimately, it feels like a bit of a gamble to rely so much on technology, but it’s likely a gamble that is worth the risk. The gains we get from putting “human plus machine” together far outweigh the outside chance of no longer having GPS to use tomorrow.
My hat goes off to those that knew how to adjust their valves 50 years ago, but I’m thankful that technology has pushed us past that to allow us to work on newer and bigger problems.
Originally published at https://www.mickmel.com on September 21, 2023.