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comment by veen
veen  ·  200 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Cal Newport on Why We'll Look Back at Our Smartphones Like Cigarettes

I think I'm coming down to thinking of tech more and more like a utility. I mean - my homescreen is full of apps that give me instant access to a lot of knowledge. That's not a bad thing.

What is bad is that so many people resort to their smartphones at the slightest hint of boredom, that we are now assumed to be always connected and available, and that apps try to mimick social cues to get people to spend more time liking, hearting and swiping. Remember the original iPhone presentation? It was pitched like a phone, an iPod and a web browser. A decade of feature creep later and it can now do pretty much whatever you want. You can be fully connected to the world, to your colleagues, to your friends, at any moment. Which makes them distracting sonsabitches and leads to the aforementioned problems.

I don't believe in abstaining or shunning the tech, because it still has too much utility for that. It kinda feels like throwing your Swiss army knife in the garbage because you keep cutting yourself with one of its blades, even though the other tools are still useful.

The question that is now still out in the open for me is this: what role do I want this tech to have in my life? "Everything"(i.e. unconstrained techno-maximalism) clearly hasn't worked out. "Nothing" is dumb too. So I'm looking for a healthy, productive middle ground.

katakowsj  ·  199 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Agreed. A person can place the blame all they like on the sources of temptation, but however we slice it, the burden always falls on us, the consumer, to manage the use of technology, alcohol, food, or whatever could become our personal time suck.

I expect our Paleolithic ancestors had to deal with the same stuff in a different context.

Maybe it went like this, “Me, Grog have leg injury from last mastodon hunt. Me need rest to recover. Jackass tribe mates telling me of upcoming mastodon hunt. They tell me of glory of rest of tribe if I go on upcoming hunt of my life. They post cave painting of past success and what future mastodon hunt will look like without me.”

FOMO is invented. Grog must decide to stay home responsibly and survive, or go chasing glory.