Technology is Making Me Stupid

I went online the other day to read my blog (somebody has to) and began reading the posting below this one, “Muffled Chinese Blogs”. And while reading it, I replaced the word “disparaging” with “criticizing”–it just seemed to sound better. So I began typing the change directly into the edit form, a form without a spell checker mind you:

c-r-i-t-i-z-i-n-g …

c-r-i-t-z-i-e-i-n-g …

No.. that doesn’t look write either. Alrighty, let’s sound this out:

‘CRIT’ -er- SIZE


(Hmm, still looks wrong)

Eventually I ended up double clicking on the MS Word Icon on my desktop and had Clipy correctly spell it for me.

Then it hit me.

Ever since I started to use spell checking within word processors, my own spelling skills have turned into nothing short of a complete embarrassment. If, and god forbid, spell checking was completely taken away from me, URI would probably knock on my door and ask me for their degree back.

The same goes with math.

In college, I had to take Calculus I, II, III, worked with all that derivative nonsense, and integral that, the masocistic “let’s neatly align a dozen numbers into a square and try to do complicated meaningless things to it”. Yeah, I’ve done it all, and passed. Not because I know how to do any of it. Because I don’t! I passed because of a little invention called the TI-89, the graphing calculator to end all graphing calculators.

Because of the TI-89, I can’t do math by hand.

Oh, and lest I forget, “French”. I took 5 years of French in high School. Yes that’s correct, 5! However, I can barely compose a complete sentence. There was this one time, my friend Rai and I were given an assignment in French class. We had to write a story ( a short story) completely in French. Rai and I were on an equal footing with our French skills, and so for our French story we decided to split the work up. Rai was to write the story, and I was to translate it. This was right around the time I discovered babelfish, the handy little online translator.

So Rai wrote this elaborate story in english, with all types of strange and superfluous words. I remember quite specifically that he used the word “plumes” when describing snow. Plumes! And when I got the story, I read about a quarter of it, and then copied and pasted the entire thing into babelfish to make the automatic translation. Of course these online translators are never 100% in their translation, but I don’t think I cared at the time. Anyway, to make a long story short, Rai and I, two students who often evoke a chuckle or two in class by are “Frenglish” pronunciation (where we go out of our way to make French sound like English) and are obvious indifference with doing well in this class, the two of us got a bright and shiny ‘A’ on the project!

Later on the teacher discovered our chicanery after noticing that some of the tenses we used in our story weren’t taught yet in class, and she later gave us a little admonishment for our little prank, but let us keep the ‘A’ since she never explicitly said we couldn’t use a translation program. You’ve got to love technicalities!

I wonder how many people out there are like me. Who’d rather spend 3 hours finding a shortcut to something, than spending 3 hours actually doing it. On a seesaw, as one end goes up, the other comes crashing down. Maybe as computers get smarter and technology gets better, maybe we’re getting dumber?