Saturday 21 January 2017

Digital Dilemmas Part 1

The Ways in which technology 
continues to improve communication


Those of us who have been around for more than twenty years know very well just how pervasively modern technology, particularly that of personal computing and mobile phones, gaming and electronics in general, have changed our lives. We have seen these technologies revolutionise the way we do just about everything and all of this has come about in a comparatively short amount of time.

I well remember the days when letters to my mother in New Zealand would take around two to three weeks to arrive from India and then the turn around was often the same if not longer. It would take weeks to exchange our news and by the time the letters arrived, the news was well and truly out of date.

Probably not too much has changed with postal timings except that we hardly ever send letters these days, preferring the instant messaging or email and WhatsApp. I even remember the wind-up telephone in my grandparent's house and the 'party line' that was shared with other Motueka residents. One would pick up the mouthpiece, turn the handle a few times and hear a voice saying; 'what number please?' Although mail is still very much in use other forms of communication are quickly falling into disuse and becoming the dinosaurs of recent technology.

From shopping and banking through to how we access information, how we read, how we interact, even how we work, these changes have infiltrated every level and facet of society. There are not many areas of our lives now that are not in some way touched by the innovations of the digital age.

We older folk were well acquainted with the good old days of snail mail and landlines and my generation are by no means 'old.' We knew all about waiting in queues at the library in order to borrow a certain book. The days of newspapers and telegrams and fax machines, of trudging to the bank and standing in the line waiting for a teller to transact our business, these were all very much a part of day-to-day reality. Now, there are so many ways in which computers and mobiles have changed our lives in these past few short years that it would take up too much space to mention all of them.