Personal, Random

The Death of Simple

September 18, 2015

When I was young the world was a much simpler place. We weren’t surrounded and enslaved to electronics. As a kid I was outside for most of the day, running, jumping, playing. I grew up in a city and staying at home wasn’t an option. If I wasn’t outside, someone would come knock on our door and get me out, unless I was sick. Today’s generation is nothing like that. I happened to be at an elementary school last week. Every kid was on some electronic device. iPhone, iPod, iPad, DS & what not. There were almost no kids outside at the playground, no one was running. It was insane. Now granted this was a private school and isn’t a sample or even close to a sample to generalize over the entire generation. But I must wonder, what happened to the good old days?

Turbo Pascal was the first language I was introduced to back in high school. Since then programming has evolved far beyond simple functions. Nothing is built today without relaying on Libraries, Frameworks, Legacy Code, Operating Systems and more and more code that no one really knows. While I was at the elementary school I notice a computer class was going on. The kids were 5th graders and had the choice of learning coding in one of 2 ways. Option 1 was to use Scratch, which is a visual coding style tool to teach K-12 programming. Option 2 was to go through some online on code.org. Both options are great for beginner programmers. I “love” the fact the programming has become so trivial that a 5th grader can tell me he know Java. What he really meant to say is that he managed to figure out how to put a semi-colon at the end a Javascript line to make it work.

When I started to wonder how much the world has evolved in the past 20 years alone, I get scared. The world has changes, not just in programming, but in all aspects of life. We have leaped forward significantly. The world today is a complex network of Information that is no longer simple to explain. Try to think about it, there is no area of life that has not been transformed and/or execrated in the past 20 years. Something a simple as driving from point A to point B is done now using Google Maps. What happened to looking at a map and figuring it out? Is it really simpler to give our life and brain functions to a machine? I do. Most of the time.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the age that we live in. Comics are popular, the Geeks are cool. Coding is cool. This is an awesome time to live! I can check my bank account balance from my phone. My FitBit tracks my movement. Computers are cheaper than ever. My A/C and Heating is controlled via Artificial Intelligence. However, there is still a part of me that doesn’t understand when it became so simple to not think and follow. If I ever miss a day of emails, and I do sometimes, I have 200+ emails waiting for me. Taking a day completely off isn’t as simple as it used to be. With emails on my phone, I never really leave work. Nor does anyone around me. Hanging around and conversing isn’t as simple anymore. Connecting to people is different then connecting with people. Yes, we can be friends on Facebook, but does that really make us friends?

I guess what I am missing is the simple things in life. Enjoying time with family and friends. Kick a ball around without having to worry about what new features the new Apple iPhone has, or what new thing Amazon came out with. Hell, even my TV is no longer a simple tube, it is SMART. When everything around us is becoming smarter, and we getting dumber? My younger brother believes he can do anything because he can look it up on YouTube and copy it. Life isn’t that simple.

Now for those of you that say, hey, you can go live in a cave somewhere, here is my answer. Yes, I can go live in a mountain and not be in touch with any electronics and not worry about all this. Honestly, I don’t worry about this that much. I worry more about the next generation to come. The generation of puppets that we are raising. I worry about how the world will be when I am all old and gray. I can appreciate everything complex we have today because I remember simpler times. I have earned my easy logins and automated reminders. What is going to happen when the next presidents does now how to address an issue without Googling it first.

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