Our Opinion: As technology advances, some skills vanish

News Tribune editorial

When it comes to texting, most people are all thumbs. The future of typing on a standard keyboard was the focus of an Associated Press story in Thursday’s News Tribune. The topic also was explored by Scripps Howard News Service writer Dale McFeatters in a March editorial.

Rapid advances in technology are diminishing the need — and, perhaps, rendering obsolete — certain skills. Among those skills are penmanship and driving a vehicle with a standard transmission. In the late ‘60s — during the time of Beatle-mania — high schools offered classes in typing. The useful workplace skill became known as keyboarding as computers replaced typewriters in offices and homes.

The advent of the computer — and the adjunct technology of email — revived the lost art of letter writing, albeit without cursive writing, stationary or stamps.

An aim of technology is brevity, speed and convenience. For example, the attraction of microwave cooking is reducing time and effort spent on meal preparation, cooking and cleanup.

As a consequence, email has yielded to social media — Facebook, Twitter, etc. — and exchanging text messages on smartphones.

And smartphones are equipped with technology that predicts proper spelling and autocorrects errors.

Most of that technology, however, is bypassed by users who have adopted acronym-based communication, as in: OMG BGF AWHFY (translation: Oh my God, best guy friend, are we having fun yet?).

In addition, touch-screen technology threatens to relegate the keyboard to the electronic recycling bin. Technology provides a liberating quality that allows more people to do more things more quickly. But, sometimes it’s nice to slow down and craft a hand-written thankyou note, or enjoy the focus and feel of shifting gears while driving. TSPWBM. (Translation: Those simple pleasures would be missed).

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