This week's Geek in Review was inspired by my technology-free vacation last week, where I learned the benefits of going off the grid:
This ultra-connected world we live in is really cool, isn’t it? Any information we could possibly want is literally at our fingertips: we get directions from Google Maps sent straight to our cell phones, our GPS devices ensure that we’re never lost (despite our best efforts) and the days of wondering what that actor’s name is, or what the lyric to that song actually was (Alex the Seal? What the hell does that mean?) are gone forever, replaced by just a few keystrokes at Google or Wikipedia.
Do you know the actual phone numbers of the people you call regularly? Or is that just saved in your cell phone? When you’re online, do you actually know your passwords, or are they auto-saved as well? Do you have a roadmap in your car, or a Thomas Guide? What would you do if you got lost without a cell phone or a GPS device? Have you ever stopped to think about how dependent we actually are on technology, and what we’d do if we suddenly lost it one day?
I think about it all the time, and I have considered trying my hand at writing a short SF story about what happens when all the technology we rely upon goes kaput one day. Because whenever anything bad happens to technology, the most correct way to describe it is “kaput.” I’m serious. Go look it up at Google, or go to the library and use the card catalog if you really want to see what I’m talking about.
If you don't have time to go to the library at the moment, keep reading: I unintentionally got to experience how it felt to be entirely “off the grid” and live a technology-free life for five days beginning last Thursday.
It turns out that it's very similar to the benefits of not being seen, without as many exploding larches.