New does not always equal progress

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 9, 2013

Last week Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer surprised many in the tech world when she put a stop to employees telecommuting to work.
Yahoo was once a shining star among innovative, Internet-based companies, leading the way in tech-based advances such as computer-based communication. But in recent years its star has dimmed in comparison to such California giants as Google, Apple and Facebook. Still the announcement came as a shock, and many saw the move as a possible step backward for the company.
Yet this week another struggling company put at least a partial stop to its own telecommuting practices when Best Buy made a similar proclamation.
Telecommuting had been gaining momentum as the future of the workplace, but these recent announcements have brought that into question.
Mayer’s memo to employees read in part: “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices. Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.”
Technological advances come fast and furious in the modern world. It seems every other week some new or upgraded product designed to revolutionize the human experience hits the shelves. With such a rapid pace of technological advancements, oftentimes people or companies race to become the first to embrace these new technologies. Unfortunately, what is lost in the process is not given much thought until it is too late.
The advent of cellphones has no doubt made life easier, but society has traded away a bit of its privacy for that convenience. Facebook has made it easier for old high school friends to reconnect, but for most it has become a way to feel connected without truly connecting.
Even the utilization of e-readers and iPods has come with a price. Modern society seems all too eager to trade comfort and quality for immediate gratification. Unfortunately, this has often cheapened both the product and the experience.
With every advance comes a price, and it is up to us as a society to decide whether we are willing to pay it.