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How Has Technology Changed Your Life Over the Last Decade?

 
 
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 08:53 am
I had an old thread about movie watching that I posted in 2003. Tsarstephan recently resurrected the thread, and commented on the tremendous changes that have happened over the last decade.
http://able2know.org/topic/14359-1

I got to thinking. The pace of technology is changing our lives exponentially. How has technology changed YOUR life since 2002?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 20 • Views: 7,581 • Replies: 38
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 08:58 am
@Phoenix32890,
Ten years ago, broadband was just coming on the scene.

I had to physically drive to customer sites to work on their computers.

Now I connect over the Internet, and work from home. I go on site about once every two weeks.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 08:59 am
@DrewDad,
GPS is doing away with maps.
Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 09:02 am
About 10 years ago, I watched a show on TV. It might have been 60 Minutes.

Anyhow, it told about this weird thing that was happening in Finland. People were walking around with these large portable wireless phones held next to their ear. At the time, I thought that it was one of the silliest things that I had ever seen.
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raprap
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 09:38 am
@DrewDad,
The sad thing about reliance on GPS is that many people are losing the ability to think spatially. Just like calculators have taken the ability to do simple arithmetic.

Makes me wonder if some of the technology we've become dependent upon is making us less than human.

Rap
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 09:43 am
@raprap,
Interesting thought rap rap. My problem is that my spatial ability has always been lousy, and the assistance of a GPS can only be an improvement.

My husband and I often talk about how television has stifled the imagination of youngsters. Years ago, when you heard a story on the radio, you had to use your mind to create the entire scenario. Not so with t.v., where everything is set out.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 09:45 am
@raprap,
Quote:
Makes me wonder if some of the technology we've become dependent upon is making us less than human.


Perhaps "more than human" might have made more sense in that sentence. And perhaps "more than human" is where we are heading.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:03 am
@raprap,
I disagree.

I see these devices as extensions of ourselves. Google is an external memory. Calculators are extensions of my mathematical ability (they eliminate the mechanics of the task, and allow me to focus on solving the problem). GPS is simply a tool to help me get from A to B, without having to dig out a map, look up the street in the index, find it on the grid, plot a route, etc.

These things simplify my life, and let me focus on things that really matter, like finding the best Groupon so that I can have my back hair lasered off.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:05 am
@DrewDad,
Shopping. Shopping used to mean schlepping from store to store, to see what merchandise they chose to offer you.

Now, I can shop online. I can compare prices. I can have it shipped directly to my door, or to the store where I can just pick it up.
0 Replies
 
raprap
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:07 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank. I guess that depends. The ability to think spatially and to do simple arithmetic is what makes me me. Consequently, I am not a fan of either calculators or GPS as they make me dependent on a battery.

Granted I once was involved with mountain rescue and found that half of those people requiring rescue had gotten lost in the wilderness because the battery had gone dead on the GPS and they had not brought a map and compass. Maybe I'm old school but I still consider a map and compass as more important--perhaps its because I'm paranoid and I consider technology fickle.

Rap
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:07 am
@Frank Apisa,
Hmm.............I think that you have it right. Technology has enabled human beings to create at a level that would have been impossible without it.

Your post made me think of the old show, "The Six Million Dollar Man". For those who don't know, the protagonist has some of his human parts replaced with bionic ones. This enabled him to do things that are impossible for human beings.

In a way, technology has made us all bionic, except that we have "external hard drives".
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:09 am
@Phoenix32890,
That's true of movies versus books too - reading novels can lead to imagery screens in the mind, and even dilatory meandering of the brain, at least mine.

I've developed a pretty fair sense of space over the years (better than some of my other senses by far) and happen to very much like maps, not just for their information but their layout, general appearance.

I remember planning our trip to Italy in 1988, and staring at the map of Rome, trying to figure out where to pick a hotel back in the days of buying a guidebook for advice. We had never been to Europe much less Rome. I remember picking a 1 star (with garden) in Fodor's that was in the Aventine area, somewhat near the Colosseum, and keeping staring at the map over and over.

Getting there was a sensory explosion, I couldn't have imagined the area in three dimension, but I had had fun trying. Hingehead, now on a trip to Portugal, has expressed a similar take, in that we both don't want to see a lot of photos of a place before we get there, liking the surprise. Several places in Rome have the element of surprise going for them. For example, at the vatican, if you approach from side streets instead of the main road cut by Mussolini, you get to have the piazza and church 'veiled' by Bernini's giant colonnade, the walking through of which make you feel tiny, only to emerge with a big sky over a spectacular scene. Similarly with Piazza Navona - you enter by one of a few small alley sized side streets to see a long space with incredible fountains. We walked into it while just wandering around, and it was transfixing.

Naturally, surprise can be a bad thing, but I'm going on about this because I think some of the good things about surprise have been lost to many travelers.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:11 am
@raprap,
Quote:
I am not a fan of either calculators or GPS as they make me dependent on a battery.


With every new technology, one must adapt thinking in order to put it to its best use. Yes, you are dependent on a battery, but you use your mind to tell you to take spares.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:12 am
@raprap,
Rap, I am an avid golfer...and a golfer must be able to do simple math and think spatially in order to become better.

I do both rather well (although my game is in the toilet right now)...and I understand and appreciate your concerns.

I get a kick out of Nancy's reaction when I add a row of figures (golfers are doing this every day...and practice makes perfect.) Most simple addition and subtraction these days might as well advanced calculus. As you note, people simply cannot do them. But maybe the day of doing that kind of thing "by hand" so to speak, is at an end.

So many things are!
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:14 am
@ossobuco,
Osso- I hear what you are saying, but the point is that we have a choice. We can turn off our computers, our smartphones, and our GPS, but take comfort in the fact that they are there when we need them.
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:15 am
@Phoenix32890,
I know what you mean, Phoenix.

My thoughts, when discussing this issue, go back to the Star Trek series. Kirk was always touting being human as the ultimate good thing.

What we think of as "humans" are almost certainly fairly low on the possible pecking order of living things...and "living things" may well be low on the pecking order of entities that function.

Just imagine this conversation taking place in the year 3012!
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:21 am
@Frank Apisa,
Quote:
Just imagine this conversation taking place in the year 3012!


Oh, you have my synapses humming. I think that have only scratched the surface of understanding who we are, and where we stand in the scheme of things. It is so exciting!
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:25 am
@Phoenix32890,
Yes, the choice is an advance for sure. But as with gps and young people not developing their sense of space, there can be a kind of sensory or cultural loss. Most travelers who have any curiosity about where they are headed to now have available seeming endless images to be googled, and that feast can squash possible high levels of delight once you arrive somewhere.
raprap
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:40 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank, I live by a golf course and although I don't play I see that many golfers have become slaves to technology. Range finders are common and golf carts have become mandatory (mostly to speed up the game and increase course throughput).

As for Google, on line shopping and the computer in general --it has replaced my library and a paper encyclopedia and simplified searches, but it also has removed the social experience of going to a library, removed personal interaction and increased the unintelligible crap you have to wade through to get to facts.

As for my escapes from technology--I'm an avid cyclist, partially because that is the one place where I can escape from computers, cell phones and GPS. It's a place where my concentration is focused on the wetware between my ears and the machine attached to it. Where my mind can create solutions to new problems. do its own internal searches, and monitor my biometrics.

Rap
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 May, 2012 10:40 am
@ossobuco,
I can only speak for myself. As you know, for the last few years, I have been coming out west. If all is well, we may head out again in September. In the past I had seen many pictures of the area, but was still awed by the sight of them in person.

I have been to the Grand Canyon 3 times, but can't wait to see it again.

 

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