Look out the Window


Hello World. It’s another month.

The photo above is a wall mural by artist, Tabaimo. (You can go to SJMOA to check out her collection. Really cool.)

The other day, I went to a seminar about Internet of Things. (If you don’t know what it is, it is basically talking about sensors and connectivity technology. TBH, personally, I don’t have a full grip of what it means. Google it.) Half of the time, I was falling asleep while the Cisco executive talked about putting sensors everywhere and exploring the almighty Big Data. Th rest of the time, I was having these thoughts… or more like worries about my privacy and, ultimately, the future of our society.

Yes, it’s kind of ironic, for me who is a CS major, to be saying this. I should have been cheering him on and nodding my head really hard to show my support, right? What’s so bad about sensors when they’re just making our world more convenient and automatic?

Frankly, I’m scared. Why? It’s for the exact reason why people think it’s a good thing.

Yes, it’s going to make my life and your life more convenient and more efficient and more automatic.

But what’s the cost of this progress?

Our basic human skills: to think,  to interact, and to feel.

Think about it. It is really not just sensors we are talking about.We are talking about the web, FB’s new emoji expression things, texting, calculators, Google Voice, etc.. Back then, people used to know how to calculate complicated algebra with only a stick called a slide rule. Nowadays, people flip out their phones for their calculators just to calculate how much tips they have to tip the waiter. (I got to admit, that’s exactly me.) Back then, people used to go out to their backyards and sit with a book in their hands. Nowadays, people can’t even stand to wait in line without flipping their phones. Back then, people used their real faces to express their anger/sad/wow/happy face or give an actual thumbs up to their friends. Nowadays, they express all that with just a tip of a finger or a push of a button even when they don’t exactly feel that way. (I mean, I got to admit I’m one of those people. Would I really give that person a thumbs up in reality? Think not. #sorrynotsorry)

We are losing our basic abilities.

It happened in the past. It’s happening in the present. It will happen in the future.

Last semester, one of my professors asked me this question (which is also one of the reasons why I’m writing about this):

“How often do you look up from your phone [or laptop] and look out the window?”

How hard is looking out the window? Not hard. But when you really ask yourself this question, you realize that you don’t do it often enough or even you don’t do it at all. And, personally, that’s me.

But why?

We forgot how to think with our sole brain. We forgot how to interact with others. We forgot how to get out of the house and just enjoy the sun. We got used to FaceBook feeding us emotions and Buzzfeed feeding us bits of information. We are lost to technology.

Are we the next Lost Generation?

We will never know until we actually look out the window and start thinking.


P.S. If you are super interested on this topic or want another perspective regarding how technology affects our society, go read The Circle by Dave Eggers. Very chilling. Very good and has better grammar than I, hands down.

P.P.S. If you want more of my random thoughts, you can check out my personal website here.


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