Losing control.

At some point we seem to have lost control of technology, and let it control us. We’ve already seen a crack-like addiction to devices like the BlackBerry, the pressing need to answer a ringing cell phone, and the explosion of email.

Now an article in the Los Angeles Times suggests that we even feel guilty for not watching television shows that we’ve TiVo’d:

In other words, if you already feel guilty about your piles of unread Sunday newspapers and New Yorker magazines, there’s a new form of self-loathing: TiVo tyranny. Ever since I got a DVR system, my television has become a source of dread. No longer a symbol of slothful refuge wherein I can while away a few hours watching whatever dreck happens to be on, it is now a taskmaster. My life is not only cluttered with unanswered e-mails, unreturned phone calls and unfinished novels but entire seasons of television shows I feel I should watch but haven’t and probably never will.

The purpose of technology should be to make our lives easier; not to create new ways to control us. The suggestion that we should feel guilty if we don’t watch a show or return an email suggests that we lack the willpower to control our own lives.

I love TiVo as a repository for stuff to watch when there is nothing decent on, which is often. It gives me the power to have decent television available when I want it. Before TiVo we used to record shows on a VCR, and just finding them on the tape was such a problem we often didn’t bother. TiVo solved that problem, and suggests other shows that we might enjoy.

I’ve always considered myself a television addict, but I probably watch less television now because I refuse to subject myself to the kind of trash that’s on these days. TiVo lets me pick and choose what I want when I want. And if I don’t watch I certainly don’t feel guilty about it.

I also don’t feel guilty if I don’t answer my cell phone, or if I don’t return an email the exact moment I get it.

Tip of the hat to Furdlog.


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