My encounter with technology 1



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“There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home”, said Ken Olsen, President of Digital Equipment Corporation at the end of the Convention of World Future in 1977.

Boy, was he wrong!

I have just purchased a new iPhone 6 Plus and I am now in cyberworld heaven. It does everything but make my bed.

It sings, it beeps and trumpets as incoming messages, emails, and other assorted information assails from afar.

I can Facebook, tweet and twerk to my heart’s content all from the comfort of my lounge chair.

I have a new Apple Mac laptop, iPad, iPod and media player and they all talk to each other so it doesn’t matter which appliance I use, the information will be there. How cool is that!

I can read books in the dark of night while my husband snores up a storm beside me. I can talk in real time to my grandchildren in four corners of the Earth. I can shop, I can pay bills, I can research and I can listen to music. All because I have embraced (or in some instances had it forced upon me) new and developing technology.

We live in an age of constant amazement. I hear people reminiscing about the ‘old days’ and how things were better then. In some instances, this may be true but it is science and technology that has seen the most incredible growth.

I have recently retired from teaching but I do relieve when staff are absent, so I have forced myself to keep up-to-date with technology and not to view it with horror, as some of the over 60s do.

While embracing this growth, I also laugh at what has passed before us as communication before.

Remember dial-up internet, listening intently while the computer beeped a serenade to connection; or being totally frustrated because you wanted to use the internet but your mum was busy talking on the telephone? How horrifying it was to discover your favorite show on VHS has been taped over before you could watch it; the old trick of using a pencil to rewind tape that had exploded from its spool in a tangled mess; horror at making a mistake on the last sentence of your carbon-encrusted letter only to have to redo it before submitting to your boss for his signature and your disbelief at the gouging scratches raked across your favourite Beatles vinyl record.

While the use of emerging technologies in the medical field, science and transport is growing everyday, I don’t know if I am yet comfortable with the idea of letting my car drive itself.

When I really analyse technology and its role in modern society, I realise that we have given ourselves over to technology. The other day, I was out shopping when the internet in our region was down for a couple of hours. Oh the drama. The registers in the supermarket were not working so nobody to make purchases,  couldn’t use the ATM machine, or query my medical history at the Medicare office and finally no petrol.

Made me realise that although the advances in technology are wonderful and enhance our lives in many ways, it also gives away our control.

Welcome the robots that are coming our way, but be wary, very wary!

Share your thoughts below.

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Sue Farnham

  1. I totally agree with you. Each to his own of course and people are all different but I’m pleased to have been able to work with technology in my job for 10 years (teaching and teachers’ union) before I retired and now feel totally comfortable with it and enjoy its benefits immensely. Like you, we are an all Apple family and have iPads, iMacs, iPods and iPhones. I make no excuse for this when other elderly people seem horrified and critical of it and talk about how THEY don’t need it and wouldn’t go near it and how dangerous it all is. That’s their choice but I think it’s often fear and they don’t realise what good use they could make of it and how it can make life richer and much easier.

    I’ve heard several people at my U3A tell me I’m taking my life in my hands by internet banking, buying and booking online, belonging to discussion groups and so on – risking my life’s savings and identity theft etc. Well, I’ve been using all these things for 20 years now and in that time have had one instance of a fraudulent credit transaction which when I reported it to Visa, was immediately reimbursed. I’m careful, I only use reputable sites and change my passwords every so often but really the risks are minimal if you are sensible. And you can’t go through life avoiding every risk.

    I get a great deal of enjoyment out of sites like this, and Facebook (used sensibly), overseas chat groups, book discussion sites, blogs of all kinds, as well as all the convenience of banking, buying, booking travel online etc etc. I travel with a kindle app on my iPad to save carrying books, always have a word game on hand for boring moments at airports or waiting rooms. HOWEVER, it doesn’t rule my life. We go to theatre, concerts, movies, we read “real” books, we socialise and belong to organisations. But it’s there when I want to use it and i thoroughly enjoy it.

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