Your “smart” fridge alerts Alexa you’re out of eggs and she immediately orders from Amazon Fresh. Google Home wakes you with your favorite song and a fresh pot of coffee. And Microsoft’s Cortana gives you the news along with traffic updates for your first meeting. Big Tech making sure we don’t have to lift a finger!
But what if – every once in a while – our Digital Assistants encouraged us to do something…ourselves? What if Siri and Alexa tried to get us to sharpen our skills and flex our mental muscles? That’s the premise of our new parody video, which encourages us to “Use It Or Lose It.”
Created by the team behind our documentary, Sleeping with Siri it launches to coincide with the National Day of Unplugging (March 1st). Now in its 10th year, this tech-free holiday consists of a 24 hour period from sundown to sundown, to unplug, unwind, relax and do things other than using technology, electronics, and social media. The idea is to disconnect (for a while) from digital devices and connect with ourselves and our loved ones in real time.
The notion of digital detoxes, tech-boundaries and screen-free zones are gaining traction. Along with the National Day of Unplugging, there are some great organizations attempting to get people to think about how we can use technology mindfully, and regularly immerse ourselves in moments that are not interrupted with pings and notifications and alerts. Common Sense Media came up with Device Free Dinners.
Reboot created the Sabbath Manifesto: And we followed up our documentary with the Tech Timeout Academic Challenge, a program which asks young people to set aside their digital devices for up to a week in order to understand and appreciate concepts like using the library, playing board games, and finding your own way home.
Of course, no one expects you to ditch your smartphone forever. (How would you Uber?!) But the concept of taking small steps each day to unplug and enjoy nature and those people directly in front of us is a healthy one; it also takes practice. Unlike our parody video, in the real world, Alexa and Facebook and Siri will not encourage you to unplug anything – it’s just not how they’re programmed. To connect to those around us, we’ll need to come up with strategies and techniques that work for our busy lives. So, why not start by trying to unplug for one single day? Why not participate in the National Day of Unplugging? Step away for 24 hours. Engage in art galleries and long walks and conversation! The mind is like a muscle: Use it… or lose it.
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