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Technology really is the best and worst

| Staff Reporters
I love technology. I think it’s incredible that the science fiction of my childhood has become my reality as an adult.

I have a computer more powerful than the computers NASA had when they were sending people to the moon. Their computer was so big it took up an entire room. Mine is about the size of a book.

I have a virtual reality headset in my living room, something 10-year-old me would have flipped out over.
There’s a funny photo that circulates around social media every so often of all the pieces of technology that smartphones have replaced. Obviously, the landline telephone is there, but so is the television, the VCR, video game consoles and many more.

While I do like that some technology keeps getting smaller and smaller, I have a big flat screen television that my younger self would also not believe.

So yeah, technology is great and I love it.

I also recognize that technology is making me, and probably many others, idiots.

When I was in high school and college, I had all my friends and family members’ phone numbers memorized. After dialing them so much, most of them were bound to stick around in my brain for a while.

But those days are long gone.

I have hundreds of phone numbers saved in my phone, many of them I haven’t called in years. But nowadays? I couldn’t tell you my best friend’s or even my wife’s phone number without looking them up.

At this point, I remember my parents’ landline number, my cell phone number and my old employer’s number because I would either call it or give it as the number to call me back at so often.

Speaking of that old employer, when I was first hired as a reporter at the Northwest Florida Daily News in 2006, we had three county-wide map books for Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties.

Whenever I needed to go somewhere I wasn’t familiar with, I’d have to look it up in the book, and then sometimes make copies of multiple pages to plan my route. Then I’d actually have to pay attention to the street signs as I was driving and, heaven forbid, look at the actual address numbers on the houses or business buildings as I was looking for my destination.

Now I can just plug my destination into one of several different map apps available on smartphones, punch in my address and have Siri tell me exactly where to go and where to turn.
If I had to go back to using a paper map to help me navigate, I’m not sure I could do it any longer.

Honestly, I’m pretty sure I would get lost.

Last week, I was covering a story up in Baker. I punched in the address to the location while I was still in the office and had a good phone signal and my phone got me there no problem.

But trying to get home was a little trickier. I waited in that parking lot for about five minutes trying to will my phone to get a signal long enough to tell me how to get home. When that didn’t work, I set out on my own, going in a direction I was hoping was southeast-ish enough to get me home. And luckily there were no issues. I’m sure Lewis and Clark would be proud.

Despite that, I don’t think I would do well when the zombie apocalypse happens and I lose wonderful technology that’s making me dumber.

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