Reverie Fair Magazine Winter 2016 - Page 34

After 13 years as a journalist and feature writer for a group of weekly newspapers, Lisa Welz has transitioned to the corporate copywriting world. She is also blogging on a variety of topics that will have you laughing one moment and thoughtful the next.

Journalist and Blogger

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The Conversation: A Disappearing Art Form?

Technology is heralded as a tool, vital to our society and essential in the workplace. Exoskeletons and robotic limbs that help people to walk are prime examples of the wonders of our modern technology. But it comes at a price. Families at the dinner table eat silently, more interested in their smartphones than in each other.

In the face of this overwhelming silence, people have responded with a variety of solutions. Some families are banning phones at the dinner table, despite complaints from teenagers who miss texts and corporate execs who can’t retrieve their email. Hosts may have a box at family gatherings, parties or weddings, and guests are expected to hand over their phones for the duration. Some hosts simply ask their guests to enjoy dinner and conversation without phones present.

Once the phones are put away, guests who have been tied to their phones seem to look around, blink a couple of times, sheepishly smile, and seem disoriented until they get comfortable. They are not alone. According to a study conducted by app designer Locket, the average person unlocks their phone 110 times a day, or 10 times an hour.

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, while conducting research on Alzheimer’s disease at Oxford University, worried that “the pace of change in the outside environment and in the development of new technologies has increased dramatically. This will affect our brains over the next 100 years in ways we might never have imagined.”

She goes on to say that the modern brain is also dealing with adapting to prescription drugs and the wide availability of illegal drugs. Together with technology, they have an impact on the cellular level and the biochemistry of the brain. That, she wrote, “affects our personality, our behavior and our characteristics. In short, the modern world could well be altering our human identity.”