It goes without saying the world is moving more and more towards being digital. Video games, books, movies, even TV services can all be purchased and used online. Whenever I’d hear adults talking about technology “taking over”, I’ll roll my eyes and think they were stuck in the past, but I feel like I’m beginning to understand why they feel that way.
Someday, there will be no more libraries, no more video game stores, and no more DVDs on the shelves. All those businesses will eventually close because everything they sell will be purchasable online and companies will stop producing physical copies. Writing will become an ancient skill because everyone will type. Some schools have already stopped teaching children penmanship. Personally, I can’t imagine not knowing how to write and it’s a skill I never want to lose, but I understand why handwriting is becoming viewed as a needless skill now. By the time I was in high school, I didn’t have a single teacher who would accept handwritten homework assignments. If you didn’t type it out, you automatically failed, even if the work itself was satisfactory.
I’m well aware digital is more environmentally friendly above all, but knowing what will eventually happen to pastimes like writing and visiting the library depresses me. When I purchase a digital copy of something, I don’t feel like I own it because it’s not in my possession. I have three full shelves of books. I can easily look at them and say they’re mine. But a digital book? Whose is that? Yes, I paid for it, but I don’t have it. The company I bought it from has it. I don’t have any control over what happens to it. The only way someone can steal the physical books I have is by breaking into my home and taking them by force. And even then, it’s unlikely all of them would be stolen, as the shelf is too heavy to be carried safely anywhere while it’s full.
But how would I be protected against having my digital books stolen, if I bought any? Or what if the company pulls the books from their site or end up going out of business? I lose all of my books and I don’t get my money back. Thus, I’d have to buy the entire collection again rather than just the few I lost.
Progress can’t be stopped, so it’s not like I’m attempting to fight against it. I like technology very much. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have a computer or any consoles or a cell phone. I’m far from a technophobe. At the same time, I don’t want technology to take over everything. I want to still read at library, shop for games and DVDs at the store, and buy pens and pencils to write in my diary. Yes, I understand these are sentimental reasons, but there are also sentimental reasons for going digital. Not having to leave your home, not having to use up space, and so on. For people who prefer that, the world going digital probably borders on feeling like a gift from the heavens.
I also wonder how far it’s going to go. I feel like it won’t stop at digital libraries and typing instead of handwriting. I’ve read that my generation is the last that regularly played outside. Now, I do still see children playing outside, but not often and not many. I used to find the idea ludicrous, but now I truly believe it’s possible technology will someday allow people to never need to leave their homes. That someday, playgrounds and parks will be torn down due to abandonment and games like tag and hide & seek will become unheard of because all children will know are digital games. I hope so much I’m wrong, but it’s no longer far-fetched for me. I can picture it happening.
I realize I’m probably being a hypocrite in coming out with all of this. I used to say people who hate technology were stuck in the past and yet, I now sound like I’m stuck in the past. I don’t hate technology, but the feeling is the same. Everything will eventually be digitized and I’m going to miss times before that occurred. As dramatic as it may sound, I almost hope I don’t live enough to see that. Technology is amazing and I don’t want to live without it, but I also don’t want live without handwriting and hard copies of books, games, and shows. Progress isn’t leaving anyone a choice, however, so for those like me who aren’t so enthusiastic, we can only suck it up and hope for the best, whatever that could be.