First, mechanical, programmable machine was conceptualized and invented in early 19th century. During World War II engineers of USA, GB, Germany and other countries started a race of building digital, electromechanical computer. Few years later one big invention took place – transistor. That small semiconductor device gave engineers possibility of miniaturization and complication devices called “computer”. Computer started to evolve faster and faster. In early ‘90s somebody said “personal computer”. In late ‘90s mobile phones have hit the market. Beginning of 21th century gave us palmtops, smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and certainly We are going to be surprised by new invention just in 2-3 years from now.
When I wake up (or, to be exact, alarm clock in my smartphone wakes me up), firstly I turn off alarm, then I check Facebook messages on my smartphone. I put eggs in boiling water and set up timer in my phone. I go to the bathroom and during bath I check if I received any e-mails. There is one from my job, with daily schedule, two from my friends with projects to print in 3D for them, a few from my teachers with notes from their lectures, and huge load of spam. I delete spam and leave rest of mails to read later. Then I dress up, eat breakfast and go to my car. I open Spotify to listen music during drive and pick destination point in Google Maps to get optimal route omitting any traffic jams. Or I check online bus timetable and leave car for today.
When I arrive to University, I open webpage with my weekly plan to check what lecture and where I have. I just found my building on online map of campus, got to the class and took my place. I open my laptop, launch OneNote in one window to have some notes from this lecture and in second window I open 9gag not to get bored, or read mails from clients, or even write to my friends on Facebook. If some of my notes are missing, I can find lot of information on Wikipedia. If I have to calculate something, I can open calculator on probably every device in my closest surrounding, including fridge, cooker and washing machine.
When I have car accident on one of busy Wroclaw intersections and the perpetrator flees, I call police. They check his registration numbers on one of tens of thousands of cameras in the city, then they access cars database, find his personal data, access another database and knock to his doors the same day.
In the evening I go to a gym, which is open 24/7 because of access by fingerprint – there is no employees. I start exercising on treadmill with few sensors connected to my body. After few seconds I open app on my phone and got data about heartrate, calories and speed. I let app work in tray and call my mother on Skype. She said that she was just watching tutorial of jewelry making on YouTube.
Would you believe, that all those things started from one machine with some gears and triggers? Digital age is real – computer technology became inherent part of our lives. Our brains aren’t adapted to remember as many data as few decades ago, because we can check everything in the internet. But decades ago there was no access to such a big databases just by one click. We have problems to add one little number to another without using calculator. Dividing in memory is impossible for many of us. But we can open our calculators and calculate integral, or derivative of hundredth degree of one thousand digits number with two thousand decimals. Technology gave to us big possibilities, but took from us lot of abilities. You can do everything, but when battery run off, you are nothing. Todays big planes are impossible to operate without computer algorithms changing pilots pressure on joystick to engine speed, position of the aileron, position of centre of mass…
In my opinion there is nothing to discuss about dependence on technology – we cannot give it up, even if we want. It surrounds us from every side and we have to accept it. Of course, we should try not to give technology full control of our lives and have limited trust.
Last decade gave us 3D printers, which started possibility of materializing any ideas, like Death Star Christmas ornament, or voronoi lamp to bedroom. I have completely no idea what great invention will be next, but… I cannot wait to check, because I’m sure it gonna be awesome!
Loss of access to technology is very painful…