My mom is one of those people who will drive around a parking lot endlessly in pursuit of the closest spot. It drives me nuts because I feel like by the time she finds a space we could have been there five minutes ago, plus what’s wrong with a little exercise? So, you can imagine how I felt upon reading an article about Volvo’s newest innovation: the self-parking car. The company claims it wants to make life easier for drivers by allowing them to hop out and then, ta-da, the car parks itself and will even pick you back up later. Now, if I was looking for something to make my life easier, I can think of hundreds more useful innovations. That aside, I don’t see how this is safe, let alone an appealing feature, not counting my mom, of course. It reminded me of something else I read recently about how Google is testing self-driving cars.
Is this really what our future holds? Technology is already replacing so many of our human connections. I recently changed my minutes plan because I found I had an excess each month. And when I come into work and the voicemail light is on, it’s downright perplexing. Who’s calling me? Don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience technology adds to my life, but this seems to be taking things a bit too far. Maybe the self-parking car isn’t such a bad thing because I’m already dreading the day my daughter gets her driver’s license. I guess we can bypass that altogether. Kidding aside, it got me to thinking about technology and the role it plays in our lives. And I decided that it’s a love-hate relationship. Case-in-point:
Bringing the iPod to a long family meal to keep my kids entertained: Help
Trying to wrestle my son away from the iPad on a beautiful summer day: Hindrance
Looking up the answer to a perplexing question while I’m on the train: Help
Hiding the new remote control because I can’t figure out how to use it: Hindrance
Letting my daughter play games on the computer so I can work on my writing: Help
Hearing the whining from my daughter that she wants to play more games on the computer: Hindrance
And the list goes on. I guess like many things it all boils down to moderation. So I’ll try to remember that technology is supposed to be helping my life, not ruling it. And the next time my phone rings, I will make a point to answer. Who knows, it could be my car calling to tell me it’s ready.