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Robert Tamayo

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Break from Tech

Programmers are naturally interested in technology, yet there is a trend among them to let that interest define their personality. This is the geek culture side of software. It's something that probably mostly exists online, as that is where I normally see it. If it's in the actual wild, it's probably in the big tech companies and silicon valley. I haven't really seen it where I work.

Being a geek about coding can get you far, at least much further than being a geek about Marvel. But it's not something that should consume your entire identity. The typical tech geek works in an I.T. or software job and fantasizes about Teslas and Artificial Intelligence. But most of these people are just consumers of technology information who see themselves as part of the movement. Compulsive tech consumption is not the same as obsessive coding habits. The latter might lead to innovation, while the former often just leads to obnoxious conversations.

I think the ideal for a tech enthusiast and worker in the field is someone who doesn't idolize technology above all else. The ideal is probably closer to the classic scientists who were usually well-educated aristocrats tinkering around in their spare time. They had an education, but it was much different than a computer science degree supplemented by the kinds of articles shared on Hacker News. Their education was refined and cultured. The modern computer geek has become a parody of innovation, unable to appreciate the context of scientific and engineering advances as they benefit and fit into larger society. This is a problem, as it is these nerds who geek out about disgusting ideas such as putting silicon-nased electrical computing components underneath a person's skin for accomplishing the menial task of opening a regular door.

My advice is to break from tech. Take a breather. Read some fantasy, history, or at least something other than sci fi to give yourself some sense of the world you live in. A lot of the non-nerds I know who work in tech are very active people. If you remain plugged into the network, you will miss the real world happening around you. If you miss the real world, then you might be so clueless about it as to think that smart watches are a good idea.

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