If you are over 30 years old and hear the phrase “50 years ago”, the first decade that pops into your head is probably the 1950s, but what we do mean is 1970s. Troubled and blessed times indeed from many different points of view. But people were more or less the same. Or were they? We enjoy many perks of modern technology which have changed our lives and our minds drastically. That’s why your grandmother probably has no idea what you mean when you say “check out the vaca pics, I shared the cloud link”. So what shocks the generation of our grandparents the most about modern technology?
- The insane level of connectivity. Everybody is constantly online. All the time. Anywhere. If you stop and think about it, today’s youth (20 and under) don’t even register how people could live without wifi or 4G. Lucky as they may be not to remember that horrifying sound of the dial-up connection loading, they wouldn’t feel comfortable with low reception, or bad signal. Although modern technology took care of that too. You can always install a signal booster and return to the world of calls, messages, video chats, etc. But let’s face it, we all freak out when we have something important to do and the reception just doesn’t go beyond the lousy 2 bars. The modern working person needs internet and great cell reception. Period.
- How much you can accomplish on your phone. For the generation of the 1970s, a landline phone was the only norm. And not even for everyone, mind you. But today? There’s literally no one walking around without a smartphone in their hand. Our parents and our grandparents have them too. And if only 10 years ago a cell phone was used for nothing but calls and texts (except the occasional “snake” game), today we create documents on that phone, make videos, snap quality pictures, and generally can go by even if the computer is down for a while. A huge leap in a very short period of time. It actually changed the way we think and process new information. We became quite helpless actually. We completely rely on asking google every time we need help. And what if we are cut away from electricity for a few hours? Panic and despair.
- How targeted advertising works. You googled DIY methods of drain cleaning yesterday, and now you are constantly getting drain cleaner ads on social media? Well, no surprise there for someone who is used to that, but for a person who’s unfamiliar with the whole concept looks a bit like witchcraft, doesn’t it? How did they know?? Big Brother is watching, but don’t panic, take a deep breath and take it like a man. If you don’t want the ads, use encyclopedia instead of google and stay away from social media. It’s actually a very easy thing to accomplish if you are over 70 years old. But what about the rest? Not so sure.
- Artificial Intelligence research. Science fiction writers have been warning us all along, but we are still firmly headed in the direction of developing artificial intelligence that can learn and evolve. Will it lead us to war between humans and machines? Highly doubtful that it will look like anything from “The Terminator” movies. I don’t think more than another 50 years will be needed for robot help to become the norm. What do you think?
Technology is developing fast. Way too fast sometimes. But if we want to stay on top of our game, we have to understand exactly how things work around us. That’s the only way of breaking the “dependence” cycle and going form being a user to being an independent user. The only difference is that you can say thank you for all that technology helping you out and use it to the fullest, while never depending on it. Sounds utopian, doesn’t it? But that’s precisely what our parents’ generation is doing. So let’s learn from them and fight the temptation to pointlessly scroll our social media page for the 100th time. Return to the real world, read a book, make time to socialize with 3-dimensional people and pay your parents a visit!