Improvements come with distractions

By Eli Haims

Consider the technology that we considered to be cutting edge just five years ago. The iPhone had just begun development, the MacBook was introduced and the Wii was released.

In five years, the iPhone has gone through four redesigns and eight models of the MacBook have been on the market.

Now imagine what the new technology will be in five years. There is a good chance that we will no longer carry textbooks and that we will be taking notes on iPads. Who knows what our phones will look like or be able to do.

Clearly, there are huge advantages to these new technologies. It was not so long ago when people had to wait for our dial-up connections and a website took so long to load that we could not afford to browse the internet. Instead of looking up newspaper articles on ProQuest, people had to scroll through microfilm, hoping to find what he or she was looking for. The advent of high speed internet and periodical databases have allowed for huge increase in productivity, but unseen consequences have also come with it.

Our access to any information that we desire is at our fingetips. With only a few clicks of a mouse and the scurrying of fingers over a keyboard, we can buy tickets for a movie or research a history paper.

However, it is all too easy to become distracted or overwhelmed. When researching for my history paper a few weeks ago, looking up something that should have taken a matter of seconds turned into a half hour excursion through the depths of Wikipedia. Unfortunately, this type of distraction is not uncommon.

These distractions will undoubtedly become more severe as our technology improves.

Once textbooks make their way to electronic form, there is no limit to what can be done with this material. There could be videos embedded, links to more information or quizzes. Of course, all of this is available now, but instead of clicking on a link that is at our fingertips, we have to search for it online. Even with these possible downsides, we should embrace the new technology as soon as possible.

We will be able to carry around an iPad or Kindle and do math problems or read our history homework whenever we have a few minutes to spare instead of either lugging around multiple textbooks or leaving them at home and being forced to wait to do work. The downsides will be far outweighed by our productivity and efficiency, even taking into account the time that will be wasted with distractions.