Modern technology translates terribly



Column by Austin Hill

I was reading a fellow columnist’s article online last week when I noticed there were 10 comments concerning the article. Most agreed with the writer, who was standing up for student safety, and appreciated someone speaking on their behalf, others not so much.

The negative comments were pertaining mostly to a joke that was made in the introduction, a sarcastic remark concerning the priorities of the school leaders and the athletic program.

I thought it was funny and understood the purpose of  the remark, assuming many readers had as well. But those who had taken the comments quite literally scolded the writer for implying such a notion, and were amazed at how someone could perceive such nonsense.

To me, this was just another example of technology enabling personality.

Over the past few years people have become very dependent on texting, Facebooking, tweeting and any other means of communication that prohibits the direct communication between individuals talking.

I agree these advancements come in handy and have their respective times and places. But too many times these advancements substitute for one-on-one verbal interaction which reminds us of the different quirks people have.

I support people reading as much as they can, and it is great that we have found ways to keep written dialogue fluent in our culture — but texting messages and reading them with your friends doesn’t replace literature, so why should it enable people from talking.

The outrageous prices for phone service and Internet packages paid for are nothing more than putting a price tag on air. I am paying these exorbitant fees to talk on the phone, I try and justify it by using it. I can say most things very quickly, and be to the point if need be, and then I go about my business.

Nowadays, half the people I know are having these four minute long phone conversations, spread out over a 40 minute texting exchange.

These are the people you bump into in the hallways of your classroom buildings and offices, who have jump-started osteoporosis by constantly staying hunched over, sweating over their phones and hitting everything in a half-mile radius to tell someone what time they tried to call them the previous night.

This epidemic has people every day walking into traffic, knocking over bicyclists, cars piling up, people dying, all to text. Do we really need a law that says you shouldn’t text while you drive? People’s common sense doesn’t tell them that it might be a bad idea to whip out your phone while driving to see who Facebooked you?

I thought these things were covered earlier in life when people were taught the value of human life. But now we have to waste lawmaker’s time debating the dangers of using the phone while driving a car.

I bet half of these exchanges are people bailing themselves out of jokes that didn’t translate via text and they were read as spiteful. Because unless you put “j/k” or “lol” after a sentence, no one will now you are possibly speaking in sarcasm or humor prohibiting the recipient from comprehending. This kills another half-an-hour explaining oneself in a poor attempt at comedy that was lost in translation by the robotic powers flexed by Optimus iPhone.

With phones that now record your words and text them to whomever the recipient is now being sold to the public, it can help ease the problem of someone wearing down the front end of my Schwinn for their walking and texting.

It seems so advanced to think of a dictaphone sending messages automatically, but what phone companies might need to do is invent an application for download that tells a joke for you if you send it.

The device would need to be able to read the responders blood pressure when they get the joke and send it back— because that would be useful.

Before you know it, technology will get really out-of-the-box and invent phones that allow people to speak to one another in their own voices.