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March 13, 2014
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU graduate promotes 'Unplugging'

Luis Almeida, a 2002 Slippery Rock University sport management graduate now an associate professor of communications media at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was the recent feature of a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette news story promoting "National Day of Unplugging."
The event was marked March 7-8, and Almeida used the occasion to promote awareness of the responsible use of computing. The day also encouraged students to sign the "Unplug Pledge."
As part of his talk, Almeida said after extensive computer usage, whether on a laptop, tablet, smartphone or other gadget, people can feel withdrawn and even depressed, the newspaper reported.
The national day was designed to shed light on the overuse of technology and the importance of taking some time off from its use.
Almeida said society has become numb to the effects that technology has on their lives. He's come up with the "Almeida Computer Behavior (Human Robot) Hypothesis," that says "that the more a subject interacts with a computerized device, the more computer-like behaviors a subject acquires and displays over time without realizing it," the newspaper noted.
He said subjects suffering from what he calls "Human Robot Syndrome" perceive the interruption of computer use as "annoying" and "insensitive to their machine-like demands."
In essence, he said, humans are trying to overwork themselves, to work just as hard as a computer would, when the human brain is not made to withstand so much data demand.
"Employees who are working 60 to 70 hours a week tend to get sick more often ... which has an impact on productivity," Almeida said. So he asked, "Are we mentally exhausting ourselves for the sake of technology? We're no longer [working] 9 to 5, we're 9 to forever."

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