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The trajectory of technological advancement is forward, never backward. Once-vital machinery can be rendered instantly useless by a new invention. This isn’t always for the best. So, we wanted to know: “If you could erase from existence one piece of technology from our modern life, what would you pick and why?” To accommodate more answers than usual, we’re once again changing the Question Time format.


“Personally I think the car, the telephone, indoor plumbing, and the refrigerator are all blights on society and need to be removed. I’d be very happy if we could just revert back to the technology levels of a pre-industrialized society and never make any advancement that helps mankind again.” — Ian Hougland

“Bionic limbs. Superheroes breed supervillains!” — Jim Ma

“The Shake Weight.” — Jake Morgan


“Computer games. My students have an unhealthy attachment to them.” — Sid Culp

“Cellphones. They have ruined family time that most people used to have.” — Scott Powell

“I would erase computers. I hate everyone knowing where I am and what I’m doing 24/7, especially the government. I feel we have no privacy anymore. Computers in our cars that can be tracked, computers on our phones that can be tracked, cameras on every corner...” — Fredye Hampton Mattox

Our answers

“I say smartphones in general. I remember as a kid going to the library and doing research and having a full set of encyclopedias and a dictionary to help me. It made you work for your information and know how to get it. Now with a click of a button, kids have everything in front of them. It makes people lazy. And when I wanted to send someone something I wrote a letter by hand and put it in the mailbox. My biggest gripe is people texting or Facebooking everything. Try talking to someone face-to-face for a change. Or instead of sitting behind your computer screen get out and enjoy nature or sit down and read a real book with pages and a cover.” — Mike Fletcher

“The Internet. … [It] has given everyone — and I mean everyone, regardless of level of merit — a platform for their message.” — Josh Sigler

“It’s really tempting to say something broad and sweeping like computers or cellphones or texting or the Internet. But in an effort to narrow it down, I’ll say advanced mobile technology. I say this as my iPhone 4 sits on the desk in front of me, its dark screen staring at me accusingly. Smartphones are one prime example of the evolution of technology outpacing our own ability to understand what it’s doing to us. Walk around sometime and observe how many people — myself included — always seem to be on their smartphones. It’s gone beyond addiction. I can’t count how many times I’ve reached for my phone if even the momentary threat of boredom presents itself. I’m convinced my phone has given me Attention Deficit Disorder. I recently changed the lock screen to the Ghostbusters logo (you know, the red ‘no’ symbol with the cartoon ghost behind it) just to remind myself not to look at it constantly. Now when I click the lock button, the logo silently asks me: ‘Who you gonna call?’ Unless I can answer that question with something other than ‘Ghostbusters!’ — or come up with an equally compelling reason to slide my finger across the screen to unlock it — I put it back in my pocket. It’s only been a day or so, but I think it is helping. At least, I hope it will. I’m tired of hating myself for staring at my glowing rectangle constantly.” — Rob Burgess

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.

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