It has become clichéd to state that overdose of technology has been eroding human cognitive abilities to learn, unlearn and overcome day to day challenges. One can even argue that we as a species are being reduced to a bio-machinist existence which is fueled by a interdependent matrix of human and electronic systems.
In the juncture, I’d like to give a ringside view of what has been unravelling in the realm of academics, especially in the field of biology and ecology as a result of technology overdose. Research from various US universities indicate that more and more scientists are becoming predisposed towards spending more time in front of computers rather than making observations on field. The primary reason behind this phenomenon being the ubiquitous nature of technology aided devices that have made the life of a scientist much easier than ever before. A GPS collar attached to a grizzly bear or a certain duck species that migrate to polar locations during summer negates the need of the scientist to manually track the movements, sense the activities of the animal in question and arrive at conclusions.
Is this a positive development? Scientific world is divided on this. A group of scientists who considers themselves as ‘old school’ practitioners call this phenomenon as keyboard ecology. They believe that scientific community us reducing themselves into glorified data analysts and not pushing the envelope of scientific curiosity. To counter the same, reformist scientists have tried to showcase the positive side in the scheme of things such as increased institutional capabilities to avoid animal-human conflict and forest fires.
Indigenous inhabitants of marshal islands, once used a technique called ‘wave piloting’ for navigation at sea. They would analyse the pattern of waves to steady the boat and use the tidal energy to move forward. It’s doubtful that in this time and age of modern navigational devices anybody would venture such an adventurous trip into the sea relying solely on her senses. Are we losing a precious quantum of intangible heritage by overlooking age old yet innovative practices like wave piloting or are those minor collateral damage in our pathways to redefining human capabilities? Only time will tell.
Concept Courtesy: http://amp.timeinc.net/time/4355523/digitization-of-nature/?source=dam