Are you a tech slave or a tech master?

When William Falk, Editor-in-chief of The Week mused on the last of his summer vacation and wondered whether are we tech masters or tech slaves, I knew I had to blog his commentary because I and so many people I know, feel the same way... "Not so long ago, I would have found it unthinkable to work while on vacation, but that was before I traveled with a trio of tech gadgets.

"One fine day last week, with the sun peeking through the clouds and the wind hissing in the trees, I had my nose buried in work for The Week magazine. This was remarkably stupid of me, since I was on vacation on a beautiful island, and my family was waiting to go to the beach.

"Not so long ago, I would have found it unthinkable to work while on vacation; I recall glorious two-week sojourns where I had no contact with bosses, employees, even friends. But that was before I traveled with a smartphone, an iPad, and a laptop, and learned to like living in a constant stream of information and connection.

"Why do so many of us now work while on vacation, on holidays, on weekends? Not because we must, but because we can. When the ether around us pulses with wireless invitation, to disconnect requires a very deliberate act of will. Even the dopamine-pushers of Silicon Valley are becoming alarmed by just how addictive their devices have become.

"But we cannot rely on the tech wizards to save us, any more than we could expect tobacco companies to convince nicotine addicts to stop smoking. So: Will we be masters of our machines, or their slaves? The choice is ours.

"When I finally tore myself away from mine last week, I found myself on a spotless stretch of sand under a vast, achingly blue sky. Tumbling and hooting in the pounding surf with my daughter, I was fully present in the moment. Fully alive. And when we came back to the rented house, the devices were winking in the semi-darkness, beckoning me to re-engage with a world best left behind.

- By William Falk, as seen in The Week
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