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May 21, 2018

A Technology High

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”
(Albert Einstein)


There was a commercial out last year promoting the Virtual Reality headgear of the new Samsung phone. The ad shows multiple people of all ages and colors, experiencing VR technology for the first time.


We can’t see what they’re seeing, of course, but we can see their reactions: audible gasps, irrepressible smiles and laughter, and a giddy excitement that makes us all want to try it. I know I do.


What I also know, though, is that technology is not inherently good. Just because we can do something new doesn’t mean we should—consider extreme examples like atomic explosions or nicotine-addiction-inducing cigarettes. I don’t know what this means regarding the Samsung VR, but I do know this: We could film people taking certain drugs for the first time, or receiving certain physical stimulations, and see similar elated reactions on people’s faces.


I know I sound like a curmudgeon here, and who knows what VR tech can do for training surgeons & pilots, or giving new experiences for handicapped peoples.


But the thought of going further in the direction of taking us elsewhere from reality, while using goggles to disconnect us from the life and loved ones in our immediate presence, seems like a high long-term price for a few immediate oohs and aahs.


Peace begins with pause,