Dumbing Down – a net negative for everyone!

When everything becomes easy and homogenized – is that good or bad for society? How has the net effect of “dumbing down” the world impacted our society overall?

We feel dumbing down things is a net negative for everyone {thanks technology!}

We’ve had a tricky “love/hate” relationship with technology over the last several decades.

“Tech” used to move at a much slower pace, and had niches that people would gravitate naturally towards one component or another. Call them hobbies or interests. Hard to say exactly how one might become interested in them. But they were typically isolated for the most part.

Also – any “complicated” field of interest usually required a person with true intent, and a desire to master the art to some degree. Dedication, study, practice, etc.

Back in the day – “dabblers” in most things never amounted to much. Whether it was career, achievement, or recognition.

In other words – someone who just snapped a few photos with a camera didn’t get a million customers. It took a lot of physical work to become known in the photography industry.

Same can be said for most other fields. And almost solely because of our communication systems (disconnected), as well as the (then) “gatekeepers” of various popularity conduits in the world. Whether it was music, arts, or any other form of popular culture and entertainment,

Most folks got by with “jobs” where they performed functions in exchange for compensation.

I could go on and on about the historical differences between then and now.

But a more important aspect is how tech has supposedly “leveled the playing field” when it comes to “skills” that used to be hard to learn – but are now nearly easy for anyone. I mean anyone, including a toddler.

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Dumbing down shifted the skills

Nowadays – you don’t need to master the art of making anything good.

There are a million easy apps or tools that have a quick learning curve compared to equivalent functions years ago.

Photography is one of the most prominent.

Making aesthetically pleasing photos was hard when you used actual film. Nowadays – a six-year-old can make a retro sepia photo with old-school film-grain in less than 2 seconds.

And while they look good briefly glancing at them (which is just about what every person does) – no one truly studies or examines a photo in high resolution, or appreciates the subtle dynamics. Did you know if you really looked at all these low-res “filtered” photos – they’re mostly utter junk with sloppy effects.

Now, instead of being a good photographer – you need good marketing, and a substantial PR budget (or know the right people, or be in a privileged class).

It’s true, though – that as the old things become easier – new markets emerge.

The downsides are profound

Without beating a dead horse – I think some of you know what the symptoms of a tech-addiction society are. Lack of “real” skills outside of the tech ecosystem.

You know, stuff like personal interactions, as well as a general understanding of how things interconnect – even if they’re unrelated on the surface. Or the inability to have a deep conversation or read more than a couple sentences consecutively.

This is precisely why people become manic when there is a network or power outage (such as after Hurricane Sandy – which was almost 10 years ago!)

The few industries that will survive the dumbing down

A good career field to get into now – involve functions that no one wants to do – yet require skill and experience.

Jobs like plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and masonry. You’d also make a MINT if you had the opportunity to own a septic tank cleanout company. Call them “dirty jobs,” but today’s blue-collar is yesterday’s doctor or lawyer.

We also see some other services that may become popular in the future – such as helping kids who cannot function without their phones or tablets. They exist – but the growth opportunities are immense.

But there is still a “human” aspect to everything

It’s hard to say this – but there will always be a human aspect to even the most technological things in our lives. Partly because humans can still tinker with the “controls.”

There are people that still know how to properly “frame” a photo. Or know how to use color balance and contrast right.

While computers can “AUTO” almost anything – and the majority will think they are “great pics,” for instance – it still takes a keen eye and good skills to make these new-fangled photos stand out. We still have that.

But there will always be a digital, robotic fingerprint on almost everything you see.

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