Do tools blunt the skill?

Tools make our lives easier. Think about how technology has affected our lives. Does it make us better, or worse off in the long run?

Think about auto-correct.
A simple feature that has existed for ages on word processor software. It works to correct spelling/grammatical mistakes, which is an absolute lifesaver for people that are less than perfect on their language.

It has also made its claim on a tool that has more or less become an indispensable everyday convenience – the smart phone. With that, we have a stream of hilarious situations auto-correct spelling has inadvertently created for the unwitting user, better known as “Damn you auto-correct!”

Is auto-correct really making things easier for us? Granted, we can make the occasional typo and not have to suffer as a result. It cuts us the other way by blunting our facility with the language, making us reliant on the tool and losing our linguistic edge. In ten years’ time, none of us might be capable of picking up a pen and writing a coherent paragraph without the watchful eyes of the computer guiding our lines.

I have never been sold on the idea of auto-correct to be honest, and have never used it through the years, deeming it to be the death of language as we know it. What do you think?

Tools are designed to make our lives easier and improve on convenience. One however must understand the limitations of the tool, and not use it simply because it exists.

Some tools reduce the skill level required for a task, and in that process dumb us down, because a high level of competency is no longer required. We lose an appreciation of the process required to gain that skill, simply because technology makes a shortcut on attaining the same results. Life is better, but in some ways it is slowly being eroded. Good or bad? You decide.

All this being said, I’m still thankful for the presence of technology as an enabler, without which things like e-mail, social networking and search would not exist. Everyday conveniences that I take for granted, and probably cannot live without. Like everything else in life, good comes with the bad.

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