Technology is a wonderful thing. It's advanced science, medicine, the arts, music — it's hard to imagine something that hasn't been touched by the technology revolution. But, where does it end? When do our lives become so aided by technology that it begins to harm, not help? Are all our gadgets and devices slowly killing us by making us so lazy, soft and fat?
There are many ways that technology is vastly improving the quality of life for many people. Advances in prosthetics, mobility for the handicapped, and even things as seemingly comical as "The Clapper" and the medic alert "I've fallen and I can't get up" types of devices are all wonderful. All good, no question about that.
There are also devices that help us get fit. Heart rate monitors for runners and other athletes measure effort and GPS for bicycles to keep them on course and record mileage and pace. Even a select few video games are getting into the action.
First there was the Wii Fit, and now there is a whole array of games for the Wii to get you moving. Sadly, they're targeted at grown women, not the teens and kids who are turning into the fattest generation on record.
Instead of a video fighting game, get out of your mama's basement and take a boxing class. This time of year, you see ads for motorized dirt bikes, but how come there's never an ad for a mountain bike? It ain't cool if it doesn't have batteries.
How lazy do we need to be? If you've seen WALL•E, you know how doomed our society can become if we keep making our lives easier and easier.
Robotic vacuum cleaners, moving walkways, even elevators. Would it kill you to actually walk up a flight of stairs? Unless you have physical limitations (and if society keeps going the way it is, we all will if we don't get off the couch and move), do we really need electric can openers?
Electric bicycles? I cringe when I see a chubby little kid on an electric scooter.
Automatic pepper grinders? Seriously, if we've lost the ability to grind our own pepper, we're already goners.
The Segway was supposed to revolutionize society when it was introduced. Thank god for our waistlines that we're not buying those things. What happens when no one walks anymore? How does that make our lives better?
What goes in...
While obesity rates are skyrocketing, it's hard to pinpoint one single source to blame. Calories in versus calories out is the basic formula, and it's obvious that most people are burning many calories out, but what about the quality of the calories in? High-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats are evil, but what do they put in Ho Hos to make them so damn irresistible? They must put crack in them. Wait for it — crack Ho Hos.
Every once in a while, you hear talk about the government wanting to put extra taxes on snack food. Damn it, if I want a Snicker's Bar halfway through a 100-mile bike ride, why the hell should I have to pay more for it? I think the government should give tax breaks to people who exercise instead. Subsidize apples and gym memberships instead of technologically-enhanced corn syrup.
The Ugly Truth
Technology has its place. But use it for good. Just because we can create a Twinkie that's shelf stable for years doesn't mean it's a good thing. Leave your fancy car home and walk to the corner drugstore to pick up batteries for your remotes. Use the fancy-schmancy food processor to whip up a healthy smoothie. Use the GPS on your iPhone to find a great hiking trail. Throw down the PS3 and go outside. Get off your soft badonkadonk and move. Use technology to make your life better, not lazier.