We Are Conditioned To Using Technology

We Are Conditioned To Using Technology

What is the first thing that comes to your mind after looking at the photograph displayed above? Some may say addiction others might simply state silliness but very few would say conditioned as in classical conditioning. There is little doubt that folks are addicted to technological devices today especially if we use the traditional and most accepted definition of addiction which is “An activity (e.g., gambling, sex, shopping) that can be pleasurable but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work…) as stated in psychology today. What if I told you we are beyond the point of addiction and are in fact conditioned to using these gadgets?

Classical conditioning can be easily understood if we break it down in distinct stages. The first stage is the stage prior to conditioning. In this phase, an unconditioned stimulus produces an unconditioned response. What is the world is that you might be asking! Ok, let me explain it in plain english. Let’s take the example of smartphones which I will define as a computerized device. Here we go — a computerized device (unconditioned stimulus) would produce a response of use (unconditioned response). In this phase, it is all there it to it. It is as simple as that.

After stage one we jump straight to the during conditioning stage. In this stage, the unconditioned stimulus (computerized device) which is neutral or simply understood as not producing any response as of yet starts (phase one) becoming associated with that stimulus and seeing signs of a conditioned stimulus pattern. Let me explain again! In this phase, the computerized device (unconditioned stimulus) might be associated (start showing signs) with use (conditioned stimulus). We start seeing evidence that whenever subjects are given a computerized device, they use it almost without too much thinking.

The last stage is referred to as after conditioning. In this stage, conditioning stimulus has been associated with unconditioned stimulus resulting in something called a conditioned response! What the heck is that! Let me explain — In this state, a subject who has been associated with a computerized device (unconditioned stimulus) now associates him/herself with automatically using that device (conditioned response), making him or her conditioned to using such devices overtime automatically.

Classical Example: As soon as you look at a smartphone… BAM! You use it! This is perhaps why a large number of people wakes up early in the morning, look at their smartphones and immediately start using it before doing anything else — Why? because they are conditioned to using the smartphone! Don’t you think?

Are we addicted to computerized devices? I think so. Are we conditioned to using the smartphone among other computerized devices? It appears evident to me especially from a classical conditioning standpoint.

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An Alternative To Smartphone Mania

An Alternative To Smartphone Mania

Today, I did what I always do. I used computer technology in moderation and enjoyed life. Was it complicated or difficult to do? Not really. If was quite easy, in fact. The good news is that you can do the same thing, if you wish, as well. You don’t need to be a slave to smartphone technology or anything electronic. What you need to do is to take control of your life and make the machine work for you rather than the opposite. Yeah right! You might be saying. You maybe be even saying, “This is good on paper but how should I do it? ” Let me share with you how. Are you ready? Here we go.

First, you need to change your mindset in regards to technology. Nobody should live life thinking technology is more than what it really is — technique. Believing that technology transcends its definition and application will result in dependency and could eventually result in you loosing control of technique overtime. Human communication is anthroposemiotics, or the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation done by a human being. Some of these signs and symbols can be interpreted by a human being when using emoticons or abbreviated TXT messages via computer mediated communication. I think that the current state of affairs of our society has proven that one can indeed communicate using modern social media platforms. I do it, you do it, and in fact, most people do it. But just because we do it doesn’t mean technology is a panacea to all of our problems.

However, just because we can exchange symbols via a Facebook newsfeed or chatroom with our smartphones doesn’t mean that this kind of communication should replace thousands of years of interpersonal communication evolution within the human species. Interpersonal communication helps the human species to connect emotionally and create relationships. You should engage in as much face-to-face interactions as you do on-line. Why? Because if you don’t, I bet you are going to get very sick — mentally sick.  You and I were not wired to live in isolation. SO, stop thinking that smartphone can fully replace human things well. Technique might replace labor but there will be serious consequences in the living system in which technique exists, if that occurs long term.

Second, use technology wisely and if it makes your life better. If technology starts making your life worse, stop using it immediately. Let me illustrate this point — I am a professional photographer who is constantly capturing and editing stills for profit. Modern photography technology helps me tremendously with capturing great shots, editing my photos, storing and selling them. In fact, it helps me considerably, I must add. There is no question about that. I have learned that when I edit photograph for about an hour or so, my eyes and neck start hurting pretty bad. This is precisely why I don’t work in front of the computer for more than 30 minutes at a time. I came to realize that overuse of technology will make your life worse.

Suggestion: Every 30 minutes of computer/smartphone use, get away from the machine! Go get coffee or chat with someone. Get away from the smartphone on a regular basis.

Lastly, make an effort to get out of the machine and visit the outdoors. There is something magical about going for a walk in the woods, I have to tell you. Just make sure that you don’t use your smartphone during your “outdoor walk” activity as this action would then defy the purpose of going into the woods in the first place. Take this opportunity to think and reflect on your daily life and make the adjustments accordingly.  I bet life will be different for you and your dependency on technology would decrease.

Technology As A Cheating Tool

Technology As A Cheating Tool

Let me share something with you that you probably already know. Our school system isn’t in alignment with the needs and demands of the 21st century, for the most part. We tend to solve problems today using technology as a cheating tool. The old (yet still important) model of asking students to memorize content in order to develop a higher crystallized IQ and demonstrate evidence of internal storage overtime is quickly being replaced in society with fluid IQ activities of acquiring content from the environment and using this content to solve problems without having to internalize the knowledge subjects found externally. No wonder why sites like youtube, google, and even Facebook are now being used as tools of problem solving. Are you going to these sites to find answers to your questions? I bet you are. By the way, there is nothing wrong with doing that, as long as some of the “old” stuff isn’t totally replaced by superfluous techniques.

So, yes — I have to agree that teaching college courses adopting computer technology serving as scaffolding and assisting students to work in their zone of proximal development is appropriate and necessary in the new age of information. We are just too ingrained with techniques and technological procedures in our so called American Technopoly to simply go back 100 years and ignore the wonderful advancements we had in technology. So in a way, technology is doing some good. I have to admit that. One could argue that technology however is serving as a cheating tool for the new generation which in itself assists to increase the new generation’s fluid IQ levels at the expense of its big crystallized IQ brother. The former is a shame in my opinion yet it is real.

Do I agree with such tradeoff? Not totally. Why? Because our dependence on technology can in fact hunt us later on when we need internal storage in order to solve unplanned and unexpected problems or stressful situations that transcend the use of iPads, smartphones or a microchip. Am I anti-technology? Of course not. However, constantly relying on technology as a cheating tool can indeed backfire in moments when you need it the most. Did you remember the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina? How did the citizens of New Orleans and Biloxi Mississippi communicated with each other? C.B. Radios.

Folks, put your smartphone aside for a few minutes and think about what would happen to your brain’s internal capacity if you were to be constantly solving problems with technology without having to consult your physiological internal hard-drive? Don’t do it! This is a mistake. Just because technology can be used as a cheating tool doesn’t mean that you need to cheat yourself in the process. This is perhaps why school systems should not totally give up “analog” processes and procedures completely. They still have value in the world.

The reality is that unfortunately, life throw curve balls on us when we are prepared the least. Thinking on your feet with internal knowledge can, in some circumstances, be the difference between living or dyeing in some situations especially when technology isn’t available. This is why developing Crystallized IQ is still so critical and relevant today and it should still be insisted in schools. It personally think that technology help pupils with processing quite complex content more efficiently but totally relying on cheating technology can be deadly. This is why I say, “TechnoModeration is key,” especially in education.

Being Constantly On A Smartphone Won’t Help You To Better Understand Your Surroundings

Being Constantly On A Smartphone Won’t Help You To Better Understand Your Surroundings

One of the best skills I’ve developed in my life is the ability to be quiet and observe verbal and non-verbal behavior around me. It is amazing what people find out when they simply pay close attention to what others say through words or actions. Let me share this with you. Silence, ladies and gentleman, is a source of great strength as Lao Tzu once stated. Being constantly on a smartphone won’t help you to better understand your surroundings where you work and live. Here is my recommendation for you: Put that fancy smartphone to the side and pay close attention to the world around you, especially how people behave and speak with you.

Your ability to read people is so much more valuable than going to facebook to share wall updates. Being able to make objective instead of emotional decisions is also a critical skillset that people must have these days in order to navigate society with a sense of authority and control. Yet, too many people today are choosing to spend their lives in front of the machine wasting their time doing frivolous actions and learning very little. I bet that most of your grandkids will choose an app instead of almost anything else.

Listen carefully: Being constantly on your computer will reduce your chances of being a human polygraph because to achieve the former, people need to be quiet and study key concepts of nonverbal communication and persuasion. I am not aware of any city or town, regardless of size and state, that will allow strangers into their most intricate local protocols simply by them liking the city council’s facebook page. Outsiders must gain a great degree of trust before access to any community is granted, unless a member of that community introduces him to the group. Do you really think that your instagram campaign will help you to get elected to a local non-profit board? I don’t think that this technology will help you much. Your ability to communicate matters, remember that. 

I am fresh here in Cleveland but some of you have been very gracious to help me to navigate this nice but unfamiliar territory. Let me say this loud and clear: You are so much better than any app we find in the latest available smartphone. I wouldn’t be a part of my community without people’s help. Thank you! At least, I have the common sense to realize that in this life, everybody needs to be helped by someone which is in itself a consequence to choosing people over technology. 

Remember: Your smartphone is maybe a great tool for you to call your parents, receive and answer emails and participate in social media conversations throughout the day. I urge you to put your smartphone ahead of you life. The value for doing that is simply not worth it. You would be so much better off by building contacts face-to-face than to naively believe that a piece of perishable machinery could de facto help you with navigating though society. In reality, life doesn’t work that way.

What really concerns me about people choosing technology over people in this instance is people overall inability to see and “feel” the obvious. We live in a rough world where too many individuals take advantage of others. Why should we sacrifice our own abilities to communicate and perceive behavior for the sake of technology? Well, I won’t and I hope that you join the team as well.