High-tech gadget shows draw throngs of excited consumers each year in the United States, Japan, Europe and the Arabian peninsula. Though many people are already surrounded with all kinds of smart electronic devices, some always need one more -- better and smarter than the previous one. VOA’s George Putic looks at the modern world’s infatuation with gadgets.
At electronic shows, visitors flock around the newest tablet computers, cameras, 3D television screens, even small robots, dreaming of taking one home.
Consumers spend hours waiting in lines and spend hundreds of dollars to be among the first to get the latest smart phone.
The modern world seems to be infatuated with shiny expensive objects that keep us connected, help us navigate, record our thoughts and memorable events, and even talk to us. So infatuated, we no longer merely "own" our gadgets -- we have relationships with them, according to clinical psychologist and life transition therapist Francine Lederer.
“It’s a lot easier to have, right, a one-sided relationship with your computer, your phone, than it is with a live person. So that at the end of the day, you don’t need to worry about somebody being angry with you, you don’t need to worry about getting blamed for anything,” she said.
Although having a thousand Facebook friends may be perceived as equivalent to having a thousand real, authentic friendships, Lederer said in reality it is not so.
“It comes down to a lot of the internal stuff. How we feel about ourselves, our own sense of self-esteem, our self-worth, a lot of those things,” she said.
But gadgets are magical. They fascinate us the same way we are intrigued by a magician’s trick, said psychology professor at the University of the South Pacific, Robert Epstein.
“If you don’t know how they’re doing it, that’s very fascinating and intriguing. But if they do it 10 times or 20 times or 100 times, it gets boring and you want something else. That’s why magicians do not repeat the same trick over and over again,” he said.
Plugged in, isolated
Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today magazine, said he is concerned that gadgets will take on a life of their own.
“All we’re seeing so far is a little bit of the so-called wearable technology that you might wear on your wrist or in your glasses, but we’re moving very rapidly, whether the public knows it or not, toward real biological interfaces so that the gadgets will be built into us to some extent,” he said.
Lederer said the danger is that our dependence on electronic gadgets is increasingly being perceived as normal.
“I think our society in a way, and the media, often times normalizes the extent to which we use these gadgets and phones, but the reality is, it’s really not healthy for us,” she said.
Scientists predict that gadgets with biological interfaces may be available within the next 20 years and, coupled with strong artificial intelligence, will be much smarter than today.
1.infatuated adj. 入迷的；昏头昏脑的 v. 迷恋；使糊涂（infatuate的过去分词）
He was utterly infatuated with her.
2.intriguing adj. 有趣的；迷人的 v. 引起…的兴趣；策划阴谋；私通（intrigue的ing形式）
This intriguing book is both thoughtful and informative.
3.interface n. 界面；<计>接口；交界面 v. （使通过界面或接口）接合，连接；[计算机]使联系 vi. 相互作用（或影响）；交流，交谈<计><计><计><计><计><计><计>
The system uses an impressive graphical interface.
1.It comes down to a lot of the internal stuff.
come down to 归根结底，可归结为；实质上是
The problem comes down to money.
When you come down to it, however, the basic problems of life have not changed.
“如果你不知道其中的奥妙，那就很吸引人。但如果你玩了10次、20次或100次，你就感到厌倦，想找些新的东西玩 。所以魔术师从不重复同一个魔术 。”