By Jonathan Casey
“Google it”, how many times do we say that a week? Whenever we have a problem or a question we turn to technology for the answer. It makes life easier, but it seems as though we are paying a price. We don’t have to think, technology does it for us.
It is amusing to see someone who cannot give change from $2 for a $1.22 item without bringing out a calculator. I have seen one person who brought out a calculator for an easy two-digit addition or subtraction. Technology is often used not as a tool but as a crutch, to avoid thinking. This year, people will spend nearly $49 billion on memory items, just to store birthdays, anniversaries, and other simple dates.
With PDAs, smart phones, notebooks, and computers, people now have gadgets that serve as their memory. This kind of com- puterization gives people the illusion of being smarter than they really are. Today, many people do not even remember their own phone numbers, and some cannot recall more than a couple of birth- days of immediate family. They are losing their brain power.
Cell phones can store numbers—but many people now use them to store many other things rather than keeping track of the information in their heads. Want to remember an important appointment? Just enter the dates in Outlook, which will then sync in with your phone. You will be alerted, with reminders in case you forget.
Google has made it so easy for us to find out information. Just type in your question, sit back and take your pick. You have thou- sands of choices that can give you information about any topic imaginable. Google does the thinking, now if only Google would come up with a way to have the articles read to us.
Even typing paper has be-come seemingly easy for us. Microsoft Word’s software capitalizes words, changes misspelled words and even tells you when we make a grammar mistake. All you have to do is type, type any- thing, Microsoft Word will fix it.
Technology had even changed the way we listen to music. Ipods have allows us to put thousands of songs on those hand held devices. It doesn’t even matter if your music taste travels from country to rap, it’s no problem.
On the other hand, the increased use of the Internet for online banking, travel reservations, and shopping, forces people to stretch their memories beyond normal. The average person has to remember passwords, pin numbers, license plates, security ID numbers and bank ATM numbers just to get through daily life. Six out of 10 people admit to “information overload.” Most people admit to using the same password for all their accounts, a severe security risk.
Since the availability of auto-dial phones, some people’s memory is starting to atrophy. The less you use your memory, the worse it gets. Perhaps it is significant that older people have better memory. Why? They’ve kept training their brains to remember.
The good news is you can exercise your brain without memorizing numbers. Crossword puzzles and games like Sudoku pro- vide mental stimulation that can keep your memory sharp.