Techno gizmos won't rule my world

There is no arguing that technology has greatly benefited human kind in the science-medical field, at home and in everyday life. But the flip side of that could be leading us down a path of extreme laziness free-falling to a sedentary lifestyle.

The holidays, rife with technology gifts and new innovations, lead to stampedes on Black Friday and computer blackouts on Cyber Monday as customers clamor for the latest inventions. I’ve seen some new gizmos and gadgets that profoundly have stunned me.

One very popular techno device is the Echo, a tiny, black gizmo that offers a plethora of information and operates by voice activation. One can ask anything of the Echo. A TV ad shows a little girl asking questions about a whale and receiving the instant gratification of the answer within seconds. This little girl and the rest of the her generation will never have the advantages of going to the library, looking in the card catalog, locating a source on the shelf, and culling the information.

Critical-thinking skills, inductive and deductive reasoning are flying out the window as my fingers hit the keyboard. At least with Google one must actually read an article. Naysayers will pooh-pooh the idea of the old card catalog system, arguing that it was a waste of time, but as a former English teacher who assigned research projects, I am just not buying it.

A similar device is the Amazon Tap, an Alexa-portable Bluetooth speaker, which when connected to Wi-Fi, can read the news, provide weather reports and even order a pizza. For $129.99 who needs to run to Papa Murphy’s?

Ever-innovative Nike has just announced a new self-lacing shoe, called the Hyper-Adapt 1.0, that one can purchase for the mere price of $720. Now one’s waistline can add another inch, because bending over to lace up would be negated. It even comes equipped with a USB wall adapter. The battery-powered laces tighten automatically. In its defense from the USA Today author of a Dec. 14 article, however, it would be extremely advantageous for those with debilitating diseases or a 9-month pregnant woman, who longs for comfort of any kind, though it does come with that hefty price tag.

My dog-loving friends are quite religious about walking their dogs, a sure perk to owning one. Not only does the dog experience regular exercise, but the owner does, as well. Walking is one thing, but playing fetch is another. Now dog owners can get out their wallets, pull out $115 and purchase the iFetch, an interactive ball launcher. It comes with mini-tennis balls so dogs can play fetch with the machine endlessly. The “smart” dog grabs the ball in its mouth and simply drops it into the opening in the machine. The machine launches it so the dog can scamper off to retrieve it and repeat. The dog remains healthy, while the owner watches it from the couch.

In case the reader thinks my home is equipped with sticks and stones, I must admit I am starting to feel some tightness near my thumb area from holding my iPhone while I play "Words With Friends," and check Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I do take a break, however, when I grab my Fitbit to track my desired 10,000 daily steps, lest I should be categorized among those lazy folk who have let technology rule their world!

— Judy Entinger lives in Medford.

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