Smartphones Losing Your Way
There’s an old saying that every stick has two ends. Think about that smartphone that virtually every one of us is carrying around. Sure, it’s an amazing, useful tool but about the other side of the stick? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Misra: When we live our life through these screens and when it is mediated through these screens, what does that take away from our sensory experiences of the world around us?
Shalini Misra is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Tech.
Misra: And technology companies, you know, are always trying to reduce the friction in our lives. They say, “It’s so difficult to find your way around,” for example. “Why don’t we give you an app Google Maps – that would make it easy, easy for anyone to find their way around, no matter what.” But, one of the consequences of this point-to-point behavior, not knowing where you are or being constantly dislocated in our environments is a great impediment, I would say, to our learning navigational skills, to developing memories of places, and to feeling attached attached and having a sense of belonging and sense of place in the cities and environments that we inhabit.
One of my students said, “My mom always tries to give me directions. Just give me the address.” She would say, “I’ll plug it into my GPS, and I’ll figure the way out.” The question to ask here, what kind of knowledge are we losing, when we do not want this information from our parents or our friends, who give us a more contextual understanding of, you know, “Well, you’ll see this landmark, and, you know, turn over there, and there might be a construction site, over there,” but we don’t want to rely on that there’s no fear of travel anymore, but the sense of place and sense of connection is missing with these technologies.
I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. You can hear this and previous programs on our podcast.