We Be Dumber, Technology be Smarter

Blame ignorance, blame timeliness, blame lacking knowledge…we all fall guilty to the common misuse of everyday words. Maybe not so much when while writing formal essays and professional emails, but it certainly occurs while writing a text, wall-post, or tweet, we all make the mistakes of to and too, there and their and your and you’re. Of course, the list could continue on and on but those are the most common errors to be found. Undoubtedly, our knowledge of which word choice is correct disappears on such social mediums. Perhaps, most of the time, we simply just choose not to put in the extra effort while text messaging a friend or commenting on a picture, resulting in an uneducated-looking response. I think if someone tallied all the Facebook comments that say “your (insert adjective)”, Daniel Webster would turn over in his grave. School House Rock videos have sung and rejoice about these contractions since we were young, but it’s as if they were just a phase of the past. Just as recess is no longer apart of our daily agendas, an everyday use of correct grammar and punction has vanished as regularity as well. Except, maybe not… but we have technology to thank for that.

We are all familiar with the little microphone button that appears on the keyboard of our smart phones. If you don’t feel like texting something out, the solution lies in front of you: push it, speak to it, and it writes for you. All we have to do now is talk into our phones and the words automatically spell themselves out for us. The cherry on top to this feature is that the grammar is always accurate. When you say “you’re (insert adjective)” into your phone, then “you’re (insert adjective)” is going to come out. Never will it say “your” in that specific sentence structure. . If we say, “I’m going to the party”, it will never write out the sentence using “too”. I’m sure our cell phones laugh at us for our consistent typos. Our phones today are advanced and educated; they know grammar and pronunciation and can produce it fittingly upon demand.

As our minds stop paying attention to these details, technology becomes more attentive to it. Even further examples of this human tendency to rely on devices for our accuracy lie in Microsoft Word. Each word spelt incorrectly is instantly brought to our attention with every bright red underline and, upon a simple click; we can select the correct spelling of the word, which is already provided for us. In addition, every “I” is instantaneously capitalized, same as every state and country and day of the week. When our sentences don’t make sense, Word suggests a new way of wording it to us. It stalks us as we type, waiting to fix any errors we may make.

We rely on and trust technology to provide us with accurate sentences. We don’t question it either, assuming it knows and we don’t; what it says must be correct. Why would we question it though, it really does know and we really don’t. It’s as if we are becoming dumber while phones and devices and programs are becoming smarter.

I suppose that’s why they are, after all, called “smartphones”; they just never emphasize the “dumb users” part of it.