Outsourcing our self control

A former student of mine, a talented bright one at that, wrote this piece for the Duke Chronicle, the student-produced daily newspaper.

I fear a world in which we rely on the Internet for self-control as well as memory. Imagine your office in 2050. No one bothers to remember anything; coworkers have to Google “stapler” to figure out where they left the office stapler. Self-discipline is also gone; managers have to implement an automated system of minor electric shocks to condition people to stay off social media. Workplace productivity declines. Family ties suffer as parents answer emails on their smartphones rather than bonding with young children. I fear that technology could be our downfall.

While I don't ever see myself googling a stapler to see where I put mine (though wouldn't that just be the most convenient thing ever?),  I fear a world in which we no longer teach ourselves anything. We might simply teach the computer the skill we once were able to conquer ourselves.

The computer, of course, can become a giant crutch.