Technology

Okay, here’s why people complaining that technology moves too slowly annoy me:

Yes, in some areas technology moves slower than some of us had hoped, even slower than almost all of us had hoped, or wanted. Medical research, clean energy, space travel- these areas could be making huge leaps ahead, if only for funding and political as well as public support.

But I am 25 years old. By most people’s standards that’s still quite young. I remember my family’s very first cellphone. We got it when I was six, maybe seven. Huge, clunky piece of crap, it had to be charged in the car, it was the size of a modern laptop and probably heavier (worked great, though, for the record). I didn’t get my first own cellphone until I was fifteen or sixteen. It fit into my pocket. It could make calls, send texts and you could play snake on it.

My brother grew up with 8-track tapes and VHS cassettes. I grew up with CDs and DVDs. My sister’s kids grew up with MP3-players and iPods.

There’s a thing in my inner jacket pocket about the size of a large postcard, thicker and heavier, but more than light enough to carry around with me in my jacket and even forget it’s there. It’s called a Kindle, and on it have about oh I dunno, call it fifty-odd books, all ready to be read at a moment’s notice. It has to be recharged once every three weeks or so, and at my salary which is not great it was easily affordable.

My dad was born in 1944, as the second world war was drawing to a close. He watched Neil Armstrong walk on the surface of the moon. He is 69 years old in a few months. He is not that many generations removed from mine, and in his lifetime, which is certainly a lifespan most of us will experience, he has seen not only the dawn of the space age, but of computers, television, the jet airplane, genetic research, personalized electronic entertainment that would have boggled his mind when he was my age. In fact it did- never forget that the communicator that now seems laughably simple to us as we know it through the cellphone was premiered on Star Trek in 1966 – that’s only fifty years ago. I say only fifty because if you are my age now, you will probably live another fifty years- and what you will see as simple then is something you may gasp at in faschination and disbelief today.

Technology moves dizzingly fast. It moves too fast, in fact. We have to struggle to catch up, and we can’t see the changes because they happen so fast and we find them natural because we experience them gradually. We live in the first period of human history where technological progress has a real, definable and measurable effect during a single person’s life.

Technology moves like a bat outta hell. It’s us who are slow.

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