October 25, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Why you are probably an Internet addict too

This morning the Internet here at UC Davis Medical Center was on and off down for a couple hours.

You’d think we had suffered a complete electronic catastrophe of the kind on the new sci-fi show on NBC, Revolution by JJ Abrams, where nothing electronic works even if it is battery powered.Tracy Spiridakos

Here it was like, OMG, what are we going to do with no Internet!?

It wasn’t so bad.

People actually walked around and talked to each other if they needed to communicate instead of sending emails to people only steps away which seems to be the standard practice now (I admit I’m ‘guilty’ of this too).

Well, given that I am only ~6 days out from an R01 grant application deadline for NIH, I mostly worked on MS Word on my freaking grant application for which I didn’t need Internet right away.

I went over to the library in the Med Ed building here with my laptop for a bit and managed to get a couple things done that had to be done on the Internet via wireless there that was sorta working.

It wasn’t so bad, but it got me thinking….

Just how addicted are we in science and even outside of science to the Internet?

Very.

Is the Internet changing us not just as scientists, but also as people?

I think so.

Getting back to that new sci-fi show, Revolution, where absolutely nothing electronic works, it sure makes one think that beyond the Internet specifically, we are all a bunch of electricity addicts. What would happen if we had no electrons flowing through the wires in our world? In the imaginary world of Revolution, the world is thrown in totally chaos, bloodshed, and anarchy. Electricity is not just crucial for almost all science these days, but is probably also holding society together. But of course science went along pretty well without electricity for hundreds of years, right? It’s a case of not missing what you don’t know.

I’m more interested in ways that technology may be changing us as scientists and human beings as well as even the evolution or our species.

There is growing evidence that using the Internet a great deal may even change our brain structure and function. I’m not surprised.

Check out the video above of the toddler trying to use a magazine like it’s an iPad. She’s trying to push buttons. She’s trying to do that trick with two fingers where you zoom in or out….just doesn’t work on a magazine, huh? From that young an age kids are already have their worlds profoundly shaped by technology.

The point is how so very technologically plugged in we are and how this is even truer of our kids. It’s changed us.

Anyhow back to my R01 writing after chomping down some lunch while writing this….and yes, the Internet has now been working fine for a few hours….and I guess it’s a good thing as I’m expecting feedback on my R01 from colleagues that should be coming in…you guessed it…. via email.