Technology and you

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My big sis and I were reminiscing the other day after watching on video the successful, first-ever, fully-crewed suborbital space flight of Unity 22. How gigantic have changes been achieved by man in the field of technology!

As a child, I grew up watching the thrilling exploits of Captain Kirk in the television series, “Star Trek”, and have always been mesmerized by it. Now, maybe within 50 years (more or less), man might finally be able to explore the wonders of the universe ininterplanetary travel. How cool is that? By then, even riding a flying hoverboard or a dream space car wouldn’t be such a big deal at all.

Just think. Some generations ago, we were happily conversing with each other over two empty tin cans tied from end to end by a piece of string. Then, we progressed to landline telephones, thanks mainly to Alexander Graham Bell, until the first smartphone was introduced to the public in 1994. Simon, which was made by IBM, was a bulky device although it had fax and email capability, touch screen, an address book and some apps. Motorola debuted the first portable cellular telephone in 1973 and presented the Motorola Dynatac to the public with a jaw dropping price tag of $4,000 and battery life of 18 minutes.

As time evolved, the cost of owning a mobile phone also declined. My sister laughingly recalled how ecstatic she was back then when her boss gifted her with a diminutive flip-style Motorola Startac, probably costing, at that time, around $250. I have to make special mention here of the iconic Nokia with the distinct beep beeping sound signalling “You’ve got mail”!

The 21st century also brought a slew of really smart phones with Tim Cook’s Apple leading the pack. Current pricing for iPhone 12 models or for the Samsung Galaxy Series ranges from $700-$1,500 (P32,000-P69,000) although Goggle also offers the best cheap phones you can buy. Now that everyone from here to Timbuktu carries some kind of smartphone, being connected to all parts of the world is no longer a problem. Isn’t that amazing?

As if that was not enough, in the midst of the 70s, another invention appeared to arouse the public’s interest and enthusiasm. Enter MITS, initially a small company founded by Bill Gates and three friends, which developed Altair, the first personal computer using Intel’s microprocessor. Just imagine – had we bought Microsoft stocks when it first went public @27/share, we would have been millionaires now!

In recent years, technology has dramatically impacted our very lives and the way we interact with each other to such a degree that it has become surreal and, sometimes, dangerous. In fact, with the power of the internet, it is now virtually possible to do everything without even moving from where we are – ordering food, shopping, research, catching up with friends, you name it! My real fear though, lies not in the fact that we have become so reliant on the internet it borders on addiction, but because it has become a stage for certain people with their inappropriate use of social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, YouTube – these are some of the popular and most used websites on the internet and are often referred to as the social media.

Speaking of these social media platforms, I find that people have become bolder and freely, sometimes recklessly, exercise their so-called “freedom of speech”. I see myself in such a situation sometimes and while I may feel exhilarated and victorious at the time of posting, I can also feel the guilt, remorse, and embarrassment afterwards.

And yet, the evil side of social media thrives in the worst ways possible. It can take down corporations, discredit anyone, including heads of states, generate fake news, even spike insurrections, and be just downright despicable. This is not discounting an army of paid trolls. I hope I’m not alone in anticipating that stricter guidelines or laws will be instituted by proper regulatory bodies to manage or restrict these controversial issues and, soon.

On the bright side though, there are a lot of great, helpful, and sometimes avant-garde stuff that technology has brought to mankind. We cannot negate, for instance, unbelievable advances made in the fields of healthcare, financial, business and science.

And these have made our cell phones and personal computers central to our lifestyles. That is, until something more exciting and relevant appears on the horizon.

But for now, tell me. Can you honestly give up any one of your gadgets in exchange for a more temperate way of life? Can you? I thought so. – NWI