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Dr Sajed Al-Abdali
Swift key!

I AM writing this article using my tablet computer by a new keyboard application that uses a unique method of typing. The novel concept is that this keyboard does not work by keys being pressed, but rather by fingers being swiped over the screen towards letters, even if the fingers are only swiped over the letters’ approximate locations. The program then automatically recognizes the intended word.  The application can recognize more than 90% of words, and its efficiency increases the more it is used, as it automatically develops a dictionary over time. Clearly, the purpose of this application is to achieve faster typing in order to save time. “Swift Key”, that is its name!

I remember how the Internet used to transfer data through phone landlines until not too long ago. Back then, the phone line had to be kept busy while the Internet was in use, and it kept on making strange beeping and whistling sounds as if they were signals coming from deep space. I can recall how we used to request a URL in the early evening and let the computer work on it all night long before checking on it in the morning to find it was done or almost done. We would then feel excited about how technology had advanced.

Things progressed until today, where one can simply press on a key on his smartphone to load a video that contains tens of Gigabytes, i.e. tens of times larger than the site we used to request in those beautiful old days. Today, however, one starts grumbling if the video does not load in couple of seconds and doesn’t hesitate to complain and say, “The Internet is very slow today!”. I shared a short YouTube video on the Internet a few weeks ago. The video includes some paragraphs from my new book, that is named “In the company of a cup of tea”. The video was less than 75 seconds long, but I received a witty comment right after I broadcasted it saying that the video is too long! People can no longer bear to wait for more than one minute!
 
Everything has become faster nowadays. Different means of transportation are racing with each other by ground, sea and air. Means of communication are competing to transfer data faster. News channels are broadcasting their material in the form of brief summaries. Meals are fast, marriages are fast and divorces are even faster! As for myself, I have been engaged in a number of professional and social activities lately including lectures, training courses and various workshops, in addition to writing, job activities and social obligations. I run from one task to another without a break, trying to keep them all under control. I am like a circus juggler who tries to spin a dozen plates on poles over his head. During all of this, I also try to stay connected with social networks!
 
Dear Lord, I wonder what has become of us?! Why do we keep running like we are in a hectic race?! Why do we rush insanely to grab the moment and stop the wheel of time, while we know for certain that we cannot?! Why do we tend to capture the moments of our lives in photographs and videos that do not exceed 15 seconds and in expressions that contain no more than 140 characters?!
 
Why did we lose the ability to immerse ourselves in the present moment and enjoy it to the fullest as we did before, without reaching to our mobile phones to share it with these strangers on social networks before we share even a little bit of its pleasure with the real loved ones around us?! When circumstances cause me to stay away from communications tools, even for a little while, I suddenly feel a type of loneliness and alienation from life, as if I have lost control over the course of events or have become isolated from the world!
 
I know for sure that it is a fake feeling and an addiction that requires immediate treatment. I say this because every time I pull myself together and resist this feeling, whether I’m sitting or moving, I find a tranquil soul and peace of mind. We, and I’m talking about myself as much as anyone else, need a corrective revolution to restore things to their original state in order to free ourselves from this new slavery to those monstrous devices. We also need to stop stuffing dozens of tasks and obligations into our days, hours, minutes and seconds. Let us stop for a while and pay attention to ourselves first, then to our loved ones and the people we really care about, so we can enjoy real life before the bell tolls!
 
By Dr Sajed Al-Abdali
 

By: Dr Sajed Al-Abdali

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