People often worry that modern technology has made life worse, not better. And I have to admit that every time my computer locks up in the middle of an important project or my cell phone buzzes distractingly when I’m in the middle of a good book, I wonder the same thing. But it’s worth realizing that concerns about technology and quality of life are nothing new. Here are seven surprisingly “modern” concerns about technology from over 100 years ago.
1. We’re inundated by too many short messages.
2. We’re more hurried than we used to be.
3. We’re more focused on our technology than the people around us.
4. We’ve become lazy readers.
5. Technology is making us less happy and mental disorders are on the rise.
6. Technology is interfering with family life.
7. We have more news, but it’s less reliable.
None of this invalidates our own concerns about technology, but it should put those concerns in perspective. We are not the first (nor the last) generation to worry about how our technology is shaping us and whether we’re getting more good than bad from the deal. And we are also not the first generation to think that our struggles with technology are new and that prior generations had it easier. That is the hubris of the present.
All of these quotes come from a post that XKCD put together. You can read more over on their site.