The zombie apocalypse is near.
What do I mean by that? No, I don’t mean that we’re being infected by some sort of zombie virus that leaves us desiring other’s brains.
Don’t go to the local Wal-Mart to buy the ammunition for your 12-gauge shotgun to defend against the horde. The zombie apocalypse is already here.
Back up to September of this year when a young man was killed on a San Francisco subway train. The alleged shooter waved a handgun around for several minutes, at one point wiping his nose with it, before deciding on a random victim to shoot, according to yet-to-be released subway surveillance video. The remarkable thing about the tragedy is that every passenger in the subway car was on their phone. No one noticed the deranged shooter until after he fired his gun.
Last week a German “body-hacker” implanted a device in his arm that broadcasts his body temperature to an Android smartphone and sends alerts when the temperature exceeds a certain limit. What purpose does this serve?
It’s possible that you might call my view hysterical, but it’s backed-up by fact. Cell phones make one a worse driver, Twitter is addictive and people that use Facebook for long periods of time are likely to have higher rates of depression.
It’s no surprise to me that the “prepper movement,” that is people who prepare for societal collapses that would closely resemble a fictional zombie apocalypse, typically eschew technology that is commonly accepted by the mainstream and embrace others (think HAM Radios, canned-food and water filtration tablets).
To be clear, I’m not proposing we all become preppers, or live some sort of Thoreau-esqe existence. I’m not proposing that we all move to a cabin somewhere in the wilderness of Wyoming. These things are all very counterproductive.
French philosopher Paul Virilio would say that technology accelerates faster and faster, and that the adoption of new forms of new technology requires the acceptance of new types of accidents. What Virilio means is with new technology, comes new risks from that technology.
Maybe Virilio seems overtly alarmist, and there’s a chance that he is. But Virilio isn’t shunning modern technology. In fact, Virilio drives in a car, lives in a city and even has a radio.
We can’t all be like Virilio, and we have to have our computers and smart phones to know that class has been canceled for the day.
At least this much is obvious: as technology continues to evolve we have to carefully weigh its costs and benefits. Twenty years ago there were no texting and driving accidents. Twenty years from now who knows if we’ll even be driving our cars or using cell phones?
Giving up some technology doesn’t mean that we’re doomed to some sort of vapid existence. Lets just make sure that Google Glass won’t just give us an easier way to check our Twitter before we rush to the store.
Hebron is a sophomore majoring in journalism and human rights.