If you’re of that generation, you may recall how technology was once heralded as being everything good and nothing bad in the days before most people had access to much in the way of technology in their homes.
It’s hard to argue that technology hasn’t brought enormous benefits, particularly in the fields of medicine and health. What it has also done is sped up the pace of life perhaps beyond what anyone may have predicted for regular people.
The same technology that has led to the availability of global news has also nurtured the expectation that we should be able to get in touch with anyone, anywhere at any time. Of course global communications does have an enormous upside if you have friends and family widely dispersed. You can keep in touch via email or Facebook and, with the proper kit, you can see your loved ones on the other side of the world via Skype. All very Jetsons!
The downside with having so much communication going via someone else’s computers is that they can learn about you and what they learn can be used commercially. If you have ever searched for something on the Internet and ended up with endless adverts for the same thing turning up afterwards, you will know what I mean.
All this information gets stored and becomes part of Big Data which is used by commercial concerns to formulate how they communicate with you, and by other companies to spot trends, social groupings and the like which form their strategies for the future.
Although it sounds a bit Big Brother (no, not the ‘reality’ television programme!) surely it can be beneficial to have more accurate forecasting? Well yes you could say that, but it depends how accurately you fit into one of the standard social groupings. If you routinely choose ‘Other’ in dropdown menus it may not be as beneficial.
Technology has a way of surprising you, even a grizzled technologist like myself. Like finding out that we can stream movies from our Amazon Prime watchlist to our main TV via our Sony BluRay player. Undocumented but very handy!
In the end we make judgements relating to how we are affected. Do the benefits outweigh the dis-benefits? Blessing or curse? Without technology I wouldn’t have much of a business, so maybe my conclusion is predictable but even I have my reservations.