Thursday, September 9, 2010

Technology - Good or Bad?

It is amazing when you stop and think for a moment about all the technology that surrounds us. Cell phones alone can browse the web, take pictures, store hundreds of numbers, record your voice and act as a miniature computer. Ten years ago, a cell phone on its own was a big thing.

Computers are now less than ten pounds, portable and have enough storage space a person can’t hope to fill it. Not to mention monitors are wide screen with such good quality you can count the stubble on a man’s cheek. Ten years ago, 250GB of memory was unheard of and only the very privileged could afford them.

Even cars are loaded with features a driver never fathomed ten years ago: DVD players, GPS, on-board road assistance and hands free calling. A person can literally get lost in the middle of nowhere and through their cars technology, find their way back home through multiple sources (even more so if they have a fancy new cell phone).

And don’t even get me started on video games. I’m a video game enthusiast and the graphics coming out now both amaze and frighten me. A friend of mine made the remark that while watching TV a few weeks ago, he saw what he thought was a live football game while channel surfing. He stopped and was amazed to find out that it was no real-life game. It was an advertisement for a new football video game.

And let us not forget to mention Project Natal, direct from Microsoft (Xbox). This Holiday season Microsoft will do away with the controller completely. That’s right, no wires nor handheld buttons smashing device. YOU ARE the controller, literally. Check out the Xbox website and search for Project Natal if you haven’t heard about this, it will BLOW your mind.

One has to wonder though, with all this technology, have we really benefited? I mean yes, we can never be lost. We always have a means of communication no matter where we want to go (depending on which service provider you’re with of course). Yes, we are entertained beyond belief. On the flip side, it’s said that this generation of children will NOT outlive their parents because of obesity. This is a direct result of 10+ hours of screen time a day. If it is that bad now, what will happen in another ten years?

If we made such leaps and bounds in just a decade; isn't it even slightly frightening to think about the next decade? Will we all have to be booked for brain surgeries to get a chip implanted in our brains for instant downloads? Will face to face conversation become a thing of the no-so-distant past? Will the new average weight be 20 pounds more because that’s the norm?

Personally, I would not want a chip implanted in my brain. I mean with hackers and viruses that could turn out to be very deadly and frightening (oddly I wrote a short story about this a few years ago, I should post it somewhere). So, where do we draw the line and say: “Okay, that’s enough now. We don’t need any more advancements to anything.” Will we even say that? I mean, how much further can we possibly go?

Only time will tell. I can only consider myself lucky. I’m old enough that I went from an old cassette player for portable music to a CD player and finally to an iPod. My first computer had 2GB of RAM and 150GB of hard-drive and came with Windows ’97. I got to see the advent of the iPod (and other ‘i’ devices) and the advancements in the computer industry.

Sure, it may not be as much of a leap as other people have seen, but considering all the changes of communication in the past decade, I’d consider it a lot. There are people being born today who will never know what a cassette tape (or VHS) is. Personally, I think that is a bit strange and creepy.

So for old time’s sake: break out the VHS player, throw on a cassette and dig out that old cell phone. Someone has to remember it.


  1. Loved this post. I work in healthcare and we have a 'robot' that is next to the patients bed with a specialist on the otherside from a partnered hospital in the states exploring what to do next medically. Very scary indeed but so fascinating.

  2. That is kind of scary. I heard about teachers in Asia being replaced by robots recently. And thanks for the comment.