March 2010

Will Technology Alter Our Senses or How We Use/Rely On Them?

I just read a comment by one of my students regarding how technology alters learning and our lives. She wrote:

“The “seeing” part is so important. It is similar to holding a book and reading a text online. The process is part of the experience.

As we advance in technology, does that mean we lose the process (human touch? Can we use that?) because it makes things so easy and convenient? It’s like using a digital camera and the film camera. Do we lose something in the process of technological advances? Do we create more of a distance?”

It made me think of a book I read a long time ago and it made a big impression on me. It is a story by H. G. Wells called “The Country of the Blind” . I loved the story and I think it is worth reading. I do not want to spoil it, but one of the things that Wells discussed is how people who lost the sense of sight were able to adopt and use the sense of touch and sense of hearing. I think the student brings a similar idea forward. Will technology alter how we use and rely on our senses? Of course, from the standpoint of evolution, the decades of intensive use of technology is nothing compared to the millions of years of evolution, yet, will they make a difference? Will our brain eventually alter as the result of new ways of receiving information? I am not sure what the answers to these questions are, but they are in my view interesting questions to ponder.

1 Response to Will Technology Alter Our Senses or How We Use/Rely On Them?

  1. Iris

    Dr. M,

    Will it alter the way our brain works? That is a very interesting thought. Will the way we “see” change because we spend so much time in front of a screen? Perhaps, we are changing because are the younger generations wearing more glasses? Hmm, it is a very valuable phenomenon to consider. We have yet to discover how advancing technology (by changing our lifestyles) may be as you suggest biologically changing us as well.


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