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我们与电子科技的热恋结束了

更新时间:2017-11-23 12:27:02 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over
我们与电子科技的热恋结束了

A decade ago I bought my first smartphone, a clunky little BlackBerry 8830 that came in a sleek black leather sheath. I loved that phone. I loved the way it effortlessly slid in and out of its case, loved the soft purr it emitted when an email came in, loved the silent whoosh of its trackball as I played Brick Breaker on the subway and the feel of its baby keys clicking under my fat thumbs. It was the world in my hands, and when I had to turn it off, I felt anxious and alone.

十年前,我买了第一部智能手机,那是一台小而笨重、自带黑色皮套的黑莓8830。我很喜欢那部手机。我喜欢它轻巧地从外壳滑进滑出的样子,喜欢它在收到邮件后发出的微颤声,喜欢当我在地铁上玩它自带的打砖块游戏Brick Breaker时,它的控制球无声的滚动,还有它可爱的小键盘被我的胖拇指按下的感觉。握着它,就像整个世界在我掌中,不得不关机时,我会感到焦虑和孤单。

Like most relationships we plunge into with hearts aflutter, our love affair with digital technology promised us the world: more friends, money and democracy! Free music, news and same-day shipping of paper towels! A laugh a minute, and a constant party at our fingertips.

和大多数我们心神荡漾地投入的关系一样,我们与电子科技的热恋也向我们承诺了整个世界:更多朋友,更多钱和更多民主!免费音乐,新闻和当天到货的卫生卷纸!无时无刻不被逗乐,每分每秒都在开着一场指尖大趴。

Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our dependence for romance, until it was too late.

我们当中的许多人都相信了“数字化让一切更好”这个幻想。我们臣服于这个想法,误把我们的依赖当作爱情——直到为时已晚。

Today, when my phone is on, I feel anxious and count down the hours to when I am able to turn it off and truly relax. The love affair I once enjoyed with digital technology is over — and I know I’m not alone.

今天,我的手机开着的时候,我感到了焦虑,我数着我还要过几个小时才能关机,才能真正地放松。我一度享受其中的这段与电子科技的恋情已经结束了——并且我知道,不止我一个人这样。

Ten years after the iPhone first swept us off our feet, the growing mistrust of computers in both our personal lives and the greater society we live in is inescapable. This publishing season is flush with books raising alarms about digital technology’s pernicious effects on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children; how Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; and the economic effects of tech monopolies.

自第一台iPhone向我们席卷而来已经过去十年,如今我们不可避免地在个人生活和整个社会中对计算机产生越来越严重的不信任感。今年的出版季满是一些写电子科技如何给我们的生活带来危害的书,纷纷在敲响警钟:智能手机如何影响着我们的孩子,Facebook和Twitter如何侵蚀着我们的民主制度,以及科技垄断带来了什么经济效应。

A recent Pew Research Center survey noted that more than 70 percent of Americans were worried about automation’s impact on jobs, while just 21 percent of respondents to a Quartz survey said they trust Facebook with their personal information. Nearly half of millennials worry about the negative effects of social media on their mental and physical health, according to the American Psychiatric Association.

皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)近期的调查指出,有超过70%的美国人担心自动化对工作的影响。Quartz的受访者中,只有21%的人表示能信任由Facebook保管自己的个人信息。据美国心理学会(American Psychological Association)统计,在千禧一代中,有将近一半人担心社交媒体会对他们的心理和身体健康带来负面影响。

So what now?

那现在怎么办?

As much as we might fantasize about it, we probably won’t delete our social media accounts and toss our phones in the nearest body of water. What we can do is to restore some sense of balance over our relationship with digital technology, and the best way to do that is with analog: the ying to digital’s yang.

尽管我们老是这么想,但我们可能还是不会删除我们的社交媒体账号,也不会把手机扔入离你最近的水体。我们能做的,是在我们与电子科技的关系之间找回一些平衡。要这么做,最好用上模拟:模拟信号的阴对应数字信号的阳。

Thankfully, the analog world is still here, and not only is it surviving but, in many cases, it is thriving. Sales of old-fashioned print books are up for the third year in a row, according to the Association of American Publishers, while ebook sales have been declining. Independent bookstores have been steadily expanding for several years. Vinyl records have witnessed a decade-long boom in popularity (more than 200,000 newly pressed records are sold each week in the United States), while sales of instant-film cameras, paper notebooks, board games and Broadway tickets are all growing again.

万幸,模拟的世界还在。它不仅存活着,很多时候,还在茁壮发展。据美国出版商协会(Association of American Publishers)统计,传统纸质书籍销量已连续第三年增长,而电子书销量正在下滑。独立书店也连续几年有着稳定扩张。黑胶唱片的繁荣热潮已持续了十年(美国每周售出超过20万新压制的唱片),拍立得相机、纸质笔记本、桌游和百老汇演出门票的销量都重启增长。

This surprising reversal of fortune for these apparently “obsolete” analog technologies is too often written off as nostalgia for a predigital time. But younger consumers who never owned a turntable and have few memories of life before the internet drive most of the current interest in analog, and often include those who work in Silicon Valley’s most powerful companies.

这些看似“过时”的模拟技术竟会时来运转,实在出人意料,它们往往被轻描淡写为对前数字时代的怀旧。然而目前对模拟技术的兴趣大部分是在年轻消费者推动下产生的,其中不乏硅谷大公司的员工,他们从没用过黑胶唱机,对互联网到来之前的生活几乎没有印象。

Analog, although more cumbersome and costly than its digital equivalents, provides a richness of experience that is unparalleled with anything delivered through a screen. People are buying books because a book engages nearly all of their senses, from the smell of the paper and glue to the sight of the cover design and weight of the pages read, the sound of those sheets turning, and even the subtle taste of the ink on your fingertips. A book can be bought and sold, given and received, and displayed on a shelf for anyone to see. It can start conversations and cultivate romances.

尽管和对应的数字产品比起来,模拟产品显得笨重昂贵,但它们所带来的丰富体验是通过屏幕提供的东西所不能比拟的。人们买书是因为书几乎能激活所有感官,从纸张和胶水的气味,到封面设计给人的观感、已读篇章的分量、翻书的声音,甚至指尖淡淡的油墨味。书可以购买,也可以卖出;可以赠送,也可以收取;可以放在书架上被所有人看到。它还可以作为交谈的引子,甚至培养一段恋情。

The limits of analog, which were once seen as a disadvantage, are increasingly one of the benefits people are turning to as a counterweight to the easy manipulation of digital. Though a page of paper is limited by its physical size and the permanence of the ink that marks it, there is a powerful efficiency in that simplicity. The person holding the pen above that notebook page is free to write, doodle or scribble her idea however she wishes between those borders, without the restrictions or distractions imposed by software.

模拟技术的局限一度被视为缺点,现在却日渐成为优势,可供人们对抗数字技术的轻易操纵。虽然纸张的实际大小和墨水的持久性都是一种限制,但这种简单里蕴含着高效。拿起一支笔,就可以随手在笔记本的格子之间写写画画,潦草地记下自己的想法,不用受到软件的限制或干扰。

In a world of endless email chains, group chats, pop-up messages or endlessly tweaked documents and images, the walled garden of analog saves both time and inspires creativity. Web designers at Google have been required to use pen and paper as a first step when brainstorming new projects for the past several years, because it leads to better ideas than those begun on a screen.

电子邮件往来不断,群聊和弹出信息没完没了,文件和图像需要不断微调……在这样的世界里,一座环绕着围墙的模拟技术花园既能节省时间,也能激发创造力。过去几年,谷歌的网页设计师在为新项目做头脑风暴时,被要求先使用纸笔进行设计,因为用这种方式产生的创意,比从屏幕上开始的设计更胜一筹。

In contrast with the virtual “communities” we have built online, analog actually contributes to the real places where we live. I have become friendly with Ian Cheung, the appropriately opinionated owner of June Records, up the street from my home in Toronto. I benefit not only from the tax revenues that June Records contributes as a local business (paving the roads, paying my daughter’s teachers) but also from living nearby. Like the hardware store, Italian grocer and butcher on the same block, the brick and mortar presence of June adds to my neighborhood’s sense of place (i.e., a place with a killer selection of Cannonball Adderley and local indie albums) and gives me a feeling of belonging. I also have no doubts that, unlike Twitter, Ian would immediately kick out any Nazi or raving misogynist who started ranting inside his store.

和我们在网上创建的虚拟“社区”相比,模拟技术会对我们真正生活的地方做出实际贡献。在多伦多,我家那一条街上有个名叫“六月唱片”(June Records)的唱片店,老板伊恩·张(Ian Cheung)是个有点固执的人,我们成了朋友。让我受益的,不仅仅是“六月唱片”作为本地企业贡献的税收(用来修路、给我女儿的老师开工资),还有我住在它附近这个事实本身。和同街区的五金店、意大利食杂店和肉店一样,“六月唱片”的一砖一瓦为这个社区增添了特色(比如说,一个既有加农炮阿德雷[Cannonball Adderley,中音萨克斯爵士乐手——译注]的精彩作品,也有本地独立音乐人专辑的地方),让我产生一种归属感。而且我毫不怀疑,如果有什么纳粹分子或者仇视女性的人在店里叫嚷起来,伊恩会马上把他们撵出去,这和Twitter可不一样。

Analog excels particularly well at encouraging human interaction, which is crucial to our physical and mental well-being. The dynamic of a teacher working in a classroom full of students has not only proven resilient, but has outperformed digital learning experiments time and again. Digital may be extremely efficient in transferring pure information, but learning happens best when we build upon the relationships between students, teachers and their peers.

在鼓励我们进行人际互动这方面,模拟的作用尤其突出,而这种互动对我们的身心健康都是至关重要的。实验一再证明,老师在坐满学生的教室里教学,这样的互动不仅灵活,而且比数字教学效果更好。在传输纯粹的信息时,数字方式或许极为有效,但是只有当师生之间,乃至老师与老师,学生与学生之间建立起了真切的关系,才会取得最佳学习效果。

We do not face a simple choice of digital or analog. That is the false logic of the binary code that computers are programmed with, which ignores the complexity of life in the real world. Instead, we are faced with a decision of how to strike the right balance between the two. If we keep that in mind, we are taking the first step toward a healthy relationship with all technology, and, most important, one another.

我们面对的不是数字或模拟的二选一抉择。这样的二进制错误逻辑只有在无视现实生活复杂性的电脑编程中才会使用。我们要做的是思考如何在二者之间实现恰当的平衡。我们不仅要同各种技术之间建立起健康的关系,最重要的是,我们彼此之间也要培育健康的关系,思考数字与现实的平衡是迈向这种关系的第一步。

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