Replacing talent for tech dependency

Published 7:00 am Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nowadays, we have access to almost everything we need on our phones, tablets and computers. By downloading an app on our preferred technological device, we can stay in touch with friends’ miles away, find a location without asking for directions, get an idea of what ails us without paying a visit to a doctor and search for love.

This week, Mississippi State University announced engineers there have developed a newly updated app designed for deer hunters that allows hunters to better track and observe wildlife.

But when is technology too much?

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The deer app, called “Deer Hunt,” could indeed make hunting easier for folks and it does have some useful data-gathering potential that could help wildlife management experts, but hunting is also something that has historically depended on luck and skill—and not technological skill. Going out in the wilderness alone or with friends requires patience and the ability to be hyper-aware of the natural environment—precisely the same natural environment that our smart phone and computers make us less aware of.

We don’t mean to dissuade any of our readers from downloading the app, and we don’t believe that any app will ever replace the need to recognize deer sign, but the app is certainly designed to lessen the outdoor skills needed to track deer. Knowing how to tell wind direction, knowing what signals an approaching storm or recognizing a particularly productive area aren’t necessary skills most of us use every day, but the patience and dedication through which one acquires these skills are very necessary and we can’t afford to lose them.

Technology does make life easier—there’s no denying that—but as our dependency grows, we worry that it will leave us without something.

What we’ll miss won’t be obvious at first, but when we trade wholly our skills and talents for time-saving electronic shortcuts, we’re surely shortcutting more than our time.