Technology – A Gift That Might Give More Than We Want

Teleconference

 

My working life started in 1968 without Personal Computers, Cell Phones, and most of the other technology wonders we enjoy today.   Giant mainframes were here, but were only used by the largest of companies and they didn’t have the power of today’s P.C.’s.   I worked in an environment where information came across a teletype; word processors had not yet been invented, typewriters were still the norm.  Adding machines added and that was it.  When I went to the Library I used the card catalog and the dewy decimal system to locate books.  Companies had rows and rows of file cabinets filled with index cards and manila folders used to store their information and records, and these files were just starting to be converted to microfiche, which turned out to be short lived.  Mimeograph machines were being replaced by the Xerox Copy Machine.  Correspondence was sent through the U.S. Mail, there was no such thing as email.  Spell checks were done with a dictionary.  Telephones were moving from rotary dial to the push button, but they were all connected to a phone line.  Once you left the house or office the closest phone was the nearest pay-phone.  The internet had been invented, but I had not heard of it, and it certainly had no impact on our lives. 

The funny (I don’t mean ha-ha) thing is, even though we lacked today’s super technology.  When I was at work and my shift was finished, I was done for the day.  There was no such thing as “on-call”, there was the next shift, and they took over the responsibilities.  When my days off came, I was off, free from the responsibilities of the job.  There were no beepers or cell phones tracking me down and calling me back to work.  When it was time for vacation, I was able to take it.  I wasn’t told, yes you have four weeks vacation, but at this time you can only take one week, or you get to use your vacation by taking one or two days at a time.

Our new technologies are truly fantastic, but they can be a double edged sword.  Maybe it’s just me, but it sure seem’s, for every advancement we get, we certainly gain, but also lose a little of our freedom.  I haven’t had to buy a road map, or been lost since GPS became available to the public.  My comings and goings can now be tracked.  You’re shopping and see a work of Art you think would look great over the mantle; you can take a picture with your cell phone, and email it to whomever for an opinion.  A cashier at Wal-Mart does something a customer doesn’t like, their picture is taken by a Blackberry, and within minutes they’re on You-Tube as the “Idiot of the Day”.  You’re sound asleep, 2am comes and the alarm goes off, you’ve got that, “conference call” with India, it’s great you can teleconference in real time from Bangalore to Chicago, but you still have to be in the office at 8am, and don’t forget, the people your conferencing with in India, their jobs used to be located on the 24th floor of your building. 

Opening day of fishing season and I’m on the Wisconsin River with my son, ring, ring it’s the cell phone.  Some kind of problem at his job, and we’re off the river and heading home.  I think it would have been nice if the closest phone was the pay phone at the bait store, no one would have had the number, we could have enjoyed the day fishing, and the world would have continued to turn.

Texting

 

I was at a high school football game and became involved in a conversation about this topic with several teachers.  I was told about kids (teenagers) texting their friends throughout the school day.  I was told there are times that the kids are within 20 feet of each other and all their communication is done by texting.  Concerns were expressed about the loss of interpersonal communication skills. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love new technologies.  P.C.’s, Smart Cards, Smart Phones, Debit Cards, Blackberries, GPS, ipad, iphone, 3D TV, social networks.  I love the ability to write my articles and with a click of a button, they can be read by thousands (that’s probably an exaggeration, oh well). 

I don’t know, as much as I love having these new technologies I get the feeling we’re losing a part of ourselves.  What do you think?  I’d really like to hear your comments on this.             

Comments 2 comments

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Credence2 5 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

Hi, AC, we are on the same page. There is someone here that can relate to "what was" Coming of age in 1971, there were no electronic calculators, I had to get up from the sofa to change the television channel. I got the radio shack Tandy model computer in 1977, with a tape recorder storage system and my tv as a monitor. I could store a couple of kitchen recipes and it was done. It was a fun toy, amazing how far we have come!! I think that we do have a two headed sword, my niece had a problem trying to find answers to algebra problems by going on line. Kids get lazy failing to realize that working the process between the question and answer is where the learning begins. There is an interesting ad about a projection in the future as to where all of this will take us by 2100, your hub has inspired me to pick it up. Regards, Cred2


AC Witschorik 5 years ago from Victoria, Mn. Author

Thanks for the feedback

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