How many phone numbers do you remember these days?

I used to know dozens. Extended family, friends, work, school, local businesses, and more. And then I got my first smartphone—Technology to the rescue! Now I only remember two—V and JP. That’s it.

How often do you drive without realtime traffic information?

I used to just drive to work. I had a couple routes, and I knew which lane to be in at any given time. And then I started letting my smartphone guide me around traffic jams. Now I’m lost without it.

How cool would it be to have a self-driving car?

C’mon. Admit it. The answer is pretty damn cool. The drive to and from work could be YOUR time. Parents of small children might get to enjoy a nap too during a lap around town. And maybe “taking the redeye” could mean sleeping behind the wheel as your car drives through the night to your destination.

All of the above are good things.

I don’t need to remember more than a couple phone numbers. Knowing exactly what time I’ll get to the office means I don’t feel rushed during rush hour. And the thought of getting some work or a nap in during the five hour shot across the desert to LA is incredibly appealing. 

But what are we giving up? 

How does outsourcing some memory-related things to our devices affect our ability to remember others? How might trusting Google to worry about traffic affect our ability to handle traffic? And how well are we going to react in an emergency when the alarm goes off at 80mph in the middle of the night? 

I don’t want to bother with phone numbers or traffic anymore. And we all know grinding it out in rush hour traffic isn’t driving anymore than it’s just moving from one line to another until you reach your destination. 

It’s never as easy as they say it is, ya know?

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