Technology makes us lazy

A friend recently asked me if I knew of any great motivational speeches from the world of sports.

He was involved in a large golf tournament every year and he liked to give his team a fun and memorable pep talk before starting the multi-day tournament.

I mentioned the miracle speech that was given when the United States defeated the Russians in hockey in the Olympics in 1980, but he had already used that one in a previous year. I also suggested some exceptional quotes from Detroit Lions Coach Dan Campbell, but he didn’t want just a quote.

Then I suggested he utilize artificial intelligence to write something for him. He said he didn’t know how, so I went ahead and asked ChatGPT to write a motivational speech for a golf team.

It returned to me a pretty good speech, but it was too serious, so I asked ChatGPT to make it funny. Boy, did it deliver!

I sent both copies to my friend and suggested he choose one and make it his own. After reading them, he responded with, “These are great,” and then we both agreed AI is creepy.

I also had the opportunity to take the role of first mate on a charter fishing trip recently.

I love to fish, so I was looking forward to getting out on the water but thought the person who asked me must have been desperate, because I had never assisted on a charter before. He told me I was going to drive and jump in to assist in other ways as needed.

It was an enjoyable time. I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it, since I wasn’t the one reeling in the fish, but I learned that watching people who rarely — if ever — get to fish catch fish is almost as much as catching them yourself.

The boat had autopilot, so all I really had to do when it came to driving was keep an eye out for other boats and turn the boat as needed to pass back through the areas where we were catching fish.

Those two experiences had me thinking about technology, and that, even though there are very good things about technology, there are potential negative outcomes, as well.

If we aren’t careful with our dependence on technology, it may lead us to become lazy, much less creative, and with a lesser ability to think critically.

Artificial intelligence has many great uses, but don’t let it keep you from using your brain and exercising your creativity. Don’t take what it produces as it is presented. Continue to ask questions and use what it produces to make something of your own.

Don’t let it stop you from engaging in conversation with actual humans. Don’t let it rob you of your ability to have a healthy debate.

The autopilot on the boat made for an easier time driving, but don’t let things like autopilot keep you from being diligent in observing your surroundings. Don’t let yourself come to rely on it so much that you forget how to manually do the work.

What if the autopilot failed one day?

Electric bikes (e-bikes) are becoming increasingly popular. When I was in Utah earlier this year to hike in some national parks, e-bikes were everywhere.

Use them if you’d like, but don’t let them replace the actual exercise you get from a motorless bicycle. Use the technology to help you go farther, take a more challenging path, or keep you outdoors when you can no longer use a fully human-powered bike.

Voice-activated home appliances and electronics (“Alexa, turn off the lights”) can be helpful, but, if you find yourself sitting for long periods of time because you don’t have to get up to turn something on or off or to close the garage door, the voice activation is working against your health.

Texting is handy, but don’t let texts or other electronic communication take the places of in-person conversations or handwritten notes all the time. There is still great value in a handwritten thank you note, or delivering difficult or positive news in person.

The list of technologies that help make our lives easier is long, but don’t let it destroy your life by stealing your independent thoughts, destroying your creativity, eliminating your critical thinking skills, and leading you to a less active or even sedentary lifestyle.

Technology isn’t looking out for us in those ways, so it is up to us to look out for ourselves.


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