I recently wrote an article about being tired of smartphones – but contrary to this, I am very much in favour of technology and smartphones in general.
This has kind of got me thinking about how much life has been improved over the years by technology in general. In fact, we live in what will probably end up being called the ‘information’ or the ‘connection’ era in the future – such is the impact communication is having on our life.
Allow me to explain.
Air travel has gone from being a privileged option for the moneyed classes, to something that everyone can do. In fact the prevalence of travel writers and the amount of holidays the amount of person takes is testament to the fact that air travel has made the world a smaller place for so many…
Of course the downside to this is the wear and tear in popular destinations like Venice or Machu Picchu, or the fact that the planets pollution levels are probably the highest they’ve ever been. But… Travel opens the mind and now anyone can go pretty much anywhere, for relatively cheap.
But, travel and communication isn’t the only thing that technology is good for. In the field of medical technology, we’ve never had it so good. Most of us don’t realise on a day to day basis just what is available to keep us from dying or falling apart. From research into fatal diseases or components to replace body parts that had to be removed, or even just devices to monitor our heart rate and make sure we’re getting enough exercise. This is a field of technology that is HUGE – and has had such a massive impact on our lives – but it’s only when we need it we become aware of it and even take it for granted.
In fact, having been in receipt of a new baby this year I can say some of the technology associated with childbirth is incredible. From scans and monitors to the medical research associated with the whole process – when you consider that around 100 years ago people didn’t even really know where babies come from, this is something massively taken for granted nowadays.
For a much more in depth look at medical technology, follow this link from Positive Health Wellness which runs down how it has improved our lives.
In terms of every day tech, that smartphone you use is absolutely a marvel of modern engineering. Those of us old enough to remember computers that had massive screens and had a storage capacity in kilobytes, not gigabytes, are amazed every day by the tiny computer in our pockets. In fact, people often say that there is more computing power in your pocket than was used for the Moon landing or to develop nuclear weapons. Yup. And you use it to Facebook stalk your mates girlfriend or like selfies on Instagram.
GPS maps, looking up the news or random facts, connecting with friends on the other side of the world, finding recipes, watching video explanations of how to use your boiler, learning languages or even filming and editing films… All easily done with that slab of glass and metal in your pocket. Honestly, you don’t know how easy you’ve got it.
Remember owning a camera? If you’re a serious photographer, OK you probably do still have something, but the majority of people probably just use their phones. In fact, considering that even owning a camera was quite a privilege probably around 30 years ago, now you can snap EVERYTHING. We take pictures of timetables or our food or just random funny things – because we can! Having gone from being for special occasions such as holidays or events, now you can snap selfies constantly. Which may not be a good thing actually. Still, that smartphone camera has come a long way from the early phone cameras (remember your Nokia or Sony Ericsson camera??).
Saying that, my grumble about people being glued to their devices still stands… Do put your phone down from time to time, the world is still much more interesting than whatever your Facebook feed presents to you.
Another every day tech progression we take for granted is of course the internet, in general. OK, yes that was covered above. But remember when you used to have to go and hire DVD’s or even videos from the local store and remember to take them back?? You don’t?? How old are you???
Anyway, Netflix, Amazon, Google, Hulu et al have made watching the latest films a breeze – who needs to stand in Blockbuster trying to work out which film is any good then standing in line while a grumpy assistant tries to upsell you popcorn.
Then there’s shopping. If you’re like me you probably love the fact that you don’t have to stalk around town for hours looking for… Well, whatever. Order it online! It’s such second nature these days that it doesn’t even register how much of a modern marvel this is.
So if you want to grumble about how life was better and simpler back in the day, or how much technology has taken over our lives… Well, yes it was simpler and technology has taken over our lives. Better then? I’m not so sure.
You’ve got so many gizmos to keep you alive, you can fly anywhere for pocket money, then arrive there and find your way around with that device in your pocket… It’s amazing!