I’ve succumbed: Computers are good for me 0

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How many times did you want to put your foot through the computer screen? We all have experienced the frustration of glitches, viruses and slow download speeds over the years. Perhaps I have been fortunate; after many years of using Apple computers, I have never had any of them infected with a virus.

Some people view computers as a necessary evil. Others tune out and decide to use them only minimally for what they consider vital functions. There are those who have a distinct aversion to technology and refuse to embrace any of it. In today’s world, that ‘s hard to do.

In my experience, I purchased my first Mac in 1995. It was part of a new chiropractic instrument package in which the device was connected directly to the computer. All I had to do was push the start button, and the program would open up. The computer had a touch screen with easy-to-follow instructions. It was just a matter of time before curiosity got the better of me.

One day I decided to click on the desktop screen and clicked on an icon. Suddenly, a word processing program opened. I started to type on that program and found that I could do some neat things, for example, basic graphics, highlighting and changing colours. If I compare things today to those early days, there has been a huge quantum leap in what we can do with technology.

Today we perform functions that we could only dream about some 20 years ago. These include the following:

  • Using smartphones and tablets
  • Creating videos that you can upload to YouTube
  • Communicating anywhere in the world with Skype or FaceTime
  • Editing or creating your own sound files
  • Streaming movies and television on your devices
  • Convenience of shopping and banking from your computer
  • Availability of just about every product that is imaginable online
  • Creating your own newsletters and websites.
  • The list goes on and on, with the amount of information that we have access to accelerating at a rapid pace.

    Just 22 years ago there were 3,000 websites worldwide. Today that figure is more than 1 billion. The growth of the internet has been phenomenal, and it’s not going to stop. Imagine, in 1995, a scientist, Clifford Stoll claimed in a Newsweek magazine article that the internet would be a passing fad. Scientists are notorious for making predictions that are totally wrong.

    The interesting thing about the explosion of computers, software and the online world is the extent to which it has influenced us. Many look at the technological leap as a negative, and it’s true that there is the downside to technology. We do, however, need to acknowledge something more profound about the exponential growth of the IT world.

    As the computer age has advanced and evolved, so have our brains. We have been ‘forced’ to take more on board. There is a consistent and steady increase in the learning curve. Every time we upload and start using new software, we are in a way, uploading new data into our brains. This results in new brain cell connections, which is now acknowledged as the science of neuroplasticity.

    What we can learn from using technology is that it can play a significant role in enhancing our learning and diminishing the effects of ageing such as dementia.

    What has technology taught you? Are there items of technology you struggle with?

    Dr Ely Lazar and Dr Adele Thomas