Have We Become a Nation of Tech Addicts?

COMMENTARY | The first step toward overcoming an addiction is admitting you have one. That goes for anyone addicted to technology and has an insatiable desire to be constantly dialed in and own the latest innovations and releases on the market.

The world according to Apple and Google

Google announced a Moto X release date of its newest smart phone that the tech gods claim is an Apple iPhone 5 killer.

Obviously, like many planned releases of new gadgets to add to one’s tech arsenal, it piqued the attention of techies and the news of Motorola’s pending release was blasted throughout the Internet.

At that moment, visuals of campers and lookie-loos staking their claim in parking lots outside of telecommunications retailers clouded my brain.

Perhaps, it was an epiphany of sorts, but instantly something became crystal-clear: We have become a nation addicted to technology, at times to the detriment of a social life (texting, uploading photobombs and “checking in” at the neighborhood froyo joint doesn’t count).

Samsung and Apple are enamored in a war of smart phone market share. And some say the Galaxy S4 maker is winning the battle because it responded to our “bigger is better” fixes, much like Nino Brown did in “New Jack City” and Tony Montana did in “Scarface.”

And don’t think for one minute that Apple and Samsung are not exploiting our deeply-seated weakness for something that brings us in contact with our inner savant.

The simple fact is electronics giants are actively exploiting our technology appetites, which makes them, well…tech pushers.

Have smart phones made us dumb and more like zombies?

There used to be a time when travelers pulled a trusty Rand McNally roadmap out the glove box and used it to plan trips over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house.

They used their noggin to plot gas stations, 7-Elevens for smokes, Waffle House locations, and rest areas along the journey.

Today, with a few swipes on your tablet or smart phone, you can get the same information, oftentimes faster than before.

It’s mindless navigation.

Suddenly, you’ve become like a zombie, void of thought and cognition, although you can still find your way to a popular greasy spoon using a crowd sourcing app.

One big difference is that the route you mapped out using old school ways is likely etched in a portion of your brain responsible for memory. As a consequence, you can likely navigate to grandma’s house without a map, like a boss.

Conversely, with your shiny new tablet or iPhone, you only remember how to access the app using today’s methods.

Think on this: What happens if your iPad device goes bonkers and you didn’t pick up a free map by the register at the Cracker Barrel restaurant 55 miles in your rear-view mirror?

I’d say you’d be stuck upriver in a boat without a paddle.

Perhaps life is one big video game and we’re all trying to level up

Whether it’s playing Super Mario, Pac-Man or the latest Call of Duty installment, players have one thing in mind: leveling up.

From the moment someone cracks open their new video game after camping out for days at a nearby GameStop, they have the end in mind. Making progress from level to level is like a badge of honor or players’ rites of passage.

I’d also argue that owning the game runs second to getting to the next level or playing the final stage.

Undoubtedly, our inherent need for immediate gratification causes us to stand in line for days on end just to land a new iPhone, tablet, game, or pair of Google Glasses.

And then when we’ve had our fill, we roll up our sleeves and prepare to do battle by being among the first to pre-order another piece of tech-istory.

Similar to cocaine, crack, meth, and alcohol addicts, much of today’s culture suffers from some form of technology addiction.

And here’s a sobering thought: There doesn’t appear to be an app cure in sight.

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