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 Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant

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Abe F. March
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Number of posts: 8523
Registration date: 2008-01-26
Age: 75
Location: Germany

PostSubject: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:17 am

What about the car? As an example, from self-winding to automatic windows. When something goes wrong with the automatic system, can it be repaired at home or does it need the service of a mechanic?
Working on oneís car at home has become a thing of the past. Electronic systems have replaced many/most of the working parts. When something goes wrong, the entire part must be replaced. Even garage mechanics donít bother trying to repair many things.
Why this subject? My car started squeaking at the wheel joints. I decided to give it some lubricant myself rather than take it to the garage. When I looked under the car, there was a cover hiding access to all parts. I would have to put the car on a lift just to take off the cover. Using a car jack, I decided to try some WD 40 on the wheel joints only to discover that they were sealed off. The squeaking was being caused by the dryness of the sealed-off synthetic ball-joint. My mechanic friend said that there is no way to lubricate it. The part would need to be replaced. Thatís when I got ticked off. Why must I take my car to the garage and pay 250 Euros for each wheel ball-joint, plus labor, just to get rid of the squeak. I decided to try another method.
As we get older our joints start squeaking when we bend them or climb the stairs. The internal cartilage & natural lubricants dissipate over time and now the ball joints are rubbing against one another causing pain. Sometimes the doctor will inject some fluid into these joints to assist. It hasnít happened to me Ė yet, but I do understand the process. So, I took a medical syringe, filled it with some lubricant, pushed the needle through the synthetic rubber part of the ball-joint and injected some fluid inside.
It worked.
Of course most things are not as simple as that, especially the electronics. The more sophisticated the systems, the more costly are the repairs. When I look for a car I try to find something that is not only fuel-efficient but also where I can do simple maintenance. I still have the energy to wind my windows and crank a sunroof. I am still capable of changing the oil and replacing a filter if it can be accessed without a car lift. I donít mind having to turn knobs on a radio to change stations either. I guess Iím just too old fashioned. When I am no longer capable of doing those things, then I will opt for the energy-saving conveniences. I just think that much of the labor saving technology and the latest gadgets are not necessary. They are costly to buy, costly to maintain, and make us less self-reliant.
Of course, this is just one manís opinion.
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thehairymob
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Number of posts: 890
Registration date: 2008-05-05
Age: 47
Location: Scotland

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:22 pm

Well done Abe, maybe you should sell the idea (if possible) to all the garages in the area. That way you can help save the world by getting garages to cut down on replacing parts that don't need replacing just topping up. Very Happy
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P. Gordon Kennedy
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Number of posts: 1076
Registration date: 2008-01-13
Age: 26
Location: Crystal Falls, Michigan

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:33 pm

I'd say that it seems like the more technology we develop, the more we depend on technology. Today, everything from your TV to your coffee pot has some kind of microprocesser in it. We've reached the point where the life we life would be nearly impossible to live without computers.
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Dick Stodghill
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Age: 89
Location: Akron, Ohio

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 1:45 pm

I agree, Abe, we are far too dependent upon technology and there isn't much we can do about it. I spent years as a radio and TV serviceman. Today I would be utterly lost if I opened the back of a TV set.
I frequently wish it were possible to buy a Model A Ford or a 1969 Volkswagen beetle. Today you can't even raise or lower a window without pressing a button. Apparently some people no longer can read a map so they must have a navigation system on their dashboard.
There was a lot to be said for the old days. All of it wasn't good, but people were able to do a lot for themselves. Manufacturers have taken that ability from us.
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zadaconnaway
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Age: 66
Location: Washington, USA

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:29 pm

And what about the new cars that can park themselves? I was flabbergasted when I saw that on the news!
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JoElle
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PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:53 pm

I am not happy that some cars don't even come with standard transmission anymore. I prefer a stick.

My KIA has rolling windows.

But I am happy knowing that I don't NEED any of the things I have.

I have done without a car before. I don't need a TV. I can make coffee on the stove. I can write on a typewriter. I've washed clothes for a family of seven on a washboard.

Abe, I wouldn't say we are dependent. We live with conveniences. I like conveniences. But YOU just proved you ARE self reliant (and resourceful), not dependent.

Many of us (I consider myself self reliant) are not really dependent on modern conveniences, we enjoy them ... but we do not NEED them.
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zadaconnaway
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PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:29 pm

So true, JoElle. However, many youngsters are growing up not knowing how to deal without conveniences, and that is a shame. They are the ones who will be at a loss when something goes haywire.
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lin
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PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:53 pm

I don't know if it is making us more dependent or not.

I'll get back to you on this after I download the Y/N 3.1 from philosophicaldecisions.com
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Abe F. March
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Location: Germany

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 5:31 pm

Many years ago, new cars were designed to last just three years. Then along came Toyota producing a quality car and that changed the attitude of American car buyers and makers.
Today, the profit a dealer makes on a new car is very low. They make their profits on the service after the sale and on used cars. Is it any wonder why cars are designed that only qualified mechanics with sophisticated diagnostics can fix the car? Then due to the high repair costs, the dealer will suggest to the car owner that it may be better to buy a new car than spend all that money on repairs, and many fall for that scheme. Do you think for one moment that the dealer will take a loss on the trade in?

I rented a car at the airport when I arrived in Virginia. I specified a small Toyota Corolla. Since they didn't have any, they gave me an upgrade, without additional cost, for a big Nissan (I forget the brand name but it had the dual exhausts and was powerful). When I went to the car, the lady attendant asked me if I knew how to "drive one of these." Rather than get pissed for being insulted at my driving ability, I asked her what was so special. Then she told me that there was no key. Just an electronic device that would signal the car that I could push a button to start the car. My first thought was, "what happens if the battery runs out on this devise?" I took the car and was not informed that it had that automatic and manual drive shaft. So without any instructions, I began driving it in the manual mode not realizing that it needed to be shifted and the motor was racing terribly. I stopped the car and took stock of what the situation and then discovered the problem.
I hated every minute with that big beautiful, fully equipped monstrosity. I had a constant fear that something would go wrong and let me stranded.
I want simplicity. You can keep all those fancy add-on conveniences that are designed to impress and make more sales and profit for the aftermarket.
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Dick Stodghill
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PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:17 pm

I think Volkswagen would make a fortune (another one) if they brought back the original beetle, but fixed so it would pass emission tests. Despite their small size they had more leg room and were the most comfotable cars I have driven.
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P. Gordon Kennedy
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Age: 26
Location: Crystal Falls, Michigan

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:53 pm

I think it is not a good thing for us to place all our stock in technology. It is good to have low-tech backups for all your high-tech stuff. I have printed copies of my manuscripts and paper copies of all my most important digital photos, which I keep in a fire and waterproof box for backup. A good rule of thumb when it comes to designing things is that simpler is usually better. With a mechanical device like an engine, the simpler the design, the fewer parts there are to break and the easier it is to repair if it does break. Anyone see those films from the 1910s and 20s where they drive their model T right into a brick wall and then just drive away? If you hit a brick wall with a modern car even at a very slow speed (5-10 miles per hour) it would probably be totaled. It used to be anyone who was fairly handy could fix the family car, but now you practically need a computer scientist just to find out what in the world is wrong with it. As people become overly dependant on technology, they seem to loose important skills, like being able to read a map or park a car.
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JoElle
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PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Mon Aug 11, 2008 5:31 am

Dick Stodghill wrote:
I think Volkswagen would make a fortune (another one) if they brought back the original beetle, but fixed so it would pass emission tests. Despite their small size they had more leg room and were the most comfotable cars I have driven.

And they were soooooo cute!!! I used to have one too.
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Abe F. March
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Number of posts: 8523
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Age: 75
Location: Germany

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:01 pm

The latest throw-away gadget. A cell phone that is simply thrown away after an hour's use. And we wonder why our dumpsites keep getting bigger.
We've become so g.d. lazy that we don't want to even wash a dish, knife or fork when we can get those flimzy cardboard plates and plastic utensils to eat off. And then those plastic or styrofoam cups? More stuff to be thrown in the trash and harm the environment.
It doesn't have to be that way. Where I live, there is a deposit on most everything thus forcing the purchaser to return it for recycling. Even a plastic bottle of water has a 25 cents deposit. If it is thrown away, someone will pick it up and return it for the deposit money. Five or ten cents simply isn't enough. When I looked at the beer bottles while in Virginia, I noticed that only some states offer a return deposit.

What happened to "built to last?" I suppose I know the answer to that. It is economics. Getting people to buy more means giving them products with a short lifespan. They even want to hire "temps" rather than good solid full-time people with quality. The attitude, "get all you can out of the person and then discard them for someone new. That is also true in marriage these days.
OK. Now I've got that off my chest.
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Carol Troestler
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Location: Wisconsin

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:47 pm

On the other hand, there are many people who recycle. It has been made easier as we can now put all recyclables in one bag. In the woods, we take them to the "waste" center, where we pay to deposit our garbage, but, of course, can deposit the recyclables for free. They also take metal. When we lived where we raised our children, Saturday morning was the time to go to the recycling center, to meet one's neighbors. They were very fussy, however, putting green glass with green glass, etc.

Then, one of the largest businesses in our town is St. Vincent De Paul, affectionately called St. Vinnie's. Some of my fondest relatives shop there. It looks like a department store, with much nicer displays than Wal Mart. They made enough money at this store to build a building where there is free clinic, food pantry, and Headstart.

Carol
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P. Gordon Kennedy
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Number of posts: 1076
Registration date: 2008-01-13
Age: 26
Location: Crystal Falls, Michigan

PostSubject: Re: Is technology making us more dependent and less self-reliant   Mon Aug 11, 2008 3:21 pm

It seems that not much is built to last these days. Almost everything is becomming disposible. Disposible silverware, disposible cameras, disposible cell phones, ect. I wonder how long it'll be before they come out with a disposible laptop or a disposible car. I think the movement toward disposibility has a couple of main causes. First off, it's cheaper to build disposible items, because items that will only be used once don't have to be built to as high of standards as non-disposible items. Secondly, if you have to re-buy the item every time you want to use it, the company selling it makes more money. Disposible items, however, are a waste of resources. Some of those items will be recycled, of course, but a great many will end up in landfills and as landfills fill up and land for new landfills becomes more scarace, the price of getting rid of garbage will go up. People tend to buy disposible items because of short-term convenience and short-term savings, but in the long term, the move toward disposibility is a waste of resources and will only serve to increase the volume of trash we produce.
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