In the June 2011 issue of PLSN, which should be hitting your mail boxes shortly, I wrote about technology and how it is making us lazy. The goal of my Editor's note is to inspire and bring concerns to light. Yes, I love using lighting puns. I am re-printing it here to invoke a response and get the conversation started. Am I wrong, or do you see it in a different light, (another bad pun)? I want to hear what you think.
I’m addicted to technology. I love technology; overall it is a wonderful thing, both in our personal and professional lives. But is technology making us lazy? Not physically lazy, though technology could be blamed for my extra pounds; I’m talking about being lazy with our communication and designing habits.
For instance, the text editing software I’m now using shows two misspelled words, and one sentence is flagged due to questionable use of grammar. Of course, this is during my rough draft, and it will be polished before you read it. However, I’m relying on technology to watch my back before this story is proofread back at the office. During the draft stage, those squiggly red and green lines are catching the mistakes. How often is spell check correct? How does it not know luminaire is the correct word and spelling? It’s easily corrected by adding it to my software dictionary — or by ignoring it all together.
Texting on your cell phone is the technology du jour. I’m not the best or fastest thumb typist in the world, but with small screens you’re inevitably going to hit the wrong letter. Your mind is already 10 words of ahead of what is on the screen. Cell phone manufactures recognize this and incorporate a neat function into their phone’s operating system — auto correct. Problem is, auto correct is not always correct. We have all been there. You are typing the word “shot,” and auto correct suggest the same word, only replacing “o” with “i.” This is not what we intended to text to our mothers! Again, we’re relying on technology to help us make fewer mistakes and complete tasks more quickly. It’s my belief these time-saving technologies are not always saving us time, but costing us time.
In our professional world, technology is getting more powerful day after day. With technological advancements, are we losing the core fundamentals of design? Is technology making our lives so much easier we put less time and effort into our work?
This subject can be argued both ways. Like many designers, I use the Internet day in and day out to research, collect images, communicate with the design team and, from time to time, for Facebook. This is a far cry from how I use to do research in college — visiting a library, photo-coping images, poring over books and magazines. Oh, and if I wanted to “Facebook” with someone, I called them, or headed over to their dorm. Thinking back on it now, it sounds so archaic!
It may sound antiquated to the next generation of designers, but I still love swatch books. I still use two Maglites corrected to 3200K and hold a swatch book to them to test and play with color selections. Sure, everyone knows what R02 is and what color it produces on it own, but what if you mix it with a little L322? (I know — I just tested it and I am not telling, try it out for yourself.)
I love the “old fashioned” way of mixing color. With the advancements in LEDs, the rainbow is yours to choose from in a blink of an eye. This instant gratification of color selection gives off the appearance of time saving. What it does is actually change your design process. I have heard designers say, “I want a red; I’ll just pick it out once we’re in the theatre.” Actually, this mentality is a disservice to your design, the design team and the overall production. Precious time can be spent in tech picking out the perfect color instead of perfecting other areas of the production. Technology may make color selection easy, but it can get time consuming, just like searching the Internet. Before you know it, you have been “tweaking” a color for the last 30 minutes, with the actors on stage and the technical director cursing you out.
Technology… one minute it works, connecting you to the world. The next minute, it eats your e-mail and you can’t get a signal. Love or hate it, technology has changed the way we live and function. In a couple of years, we’ll be asking ourselves the same thing we do today: “How did we ever live like that?” What are your thoughts? How has technology changed your world?