?`s and ANNEswers

Ten minutes to write. Less time to read.

Losing Contact

We are becoming anti-social, and technology is partly to blame. I’m not saying whether this is good or bad; rather, I’m presenting some observations.

Before ATM machines, people went into their banks and saw a teller to make a deposit or withdraw funds. It was a moment of social exchange. Before self-checking at supermarkets, those same people put their items on a conveyer belt and greeted the cashier who asked if they had any coupons or bottle returns. It was another moment of social exchange.

Before restaurants started putting computers on their tables and expecting diners to order from an online menu, servers introduced themselves. The same goes for fast food, where the kiosk has become the ordering device. People can pick up prescriptions, grab a latte, and get their newly laundered shirts from the cleaners via drive-up. They can order just about anything online without talking to a salesperson.

And who hasn’t seen photos of a group of teens at the beach on a sunny day, all of them on their cellphones while sitting around in a group? Or a couple in a restaurant, presumably for a nice dinner together, looking at their phones instead of talking together?

Perhaps technology makes things more “efficient,” but it also diminishes the importance of being able to look someone in the eye, say something appropriate, and connect on a basic human level.

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