Technology is Changing Society
This week has had life changing effects for me with the passing of my Dad at 3am on Monday morning at age 83, while I sat at his side holding his hand. He was my mentor, my friend, he was the type of man that I have always aspired to be. My Dad had more literary talent than I will ever possess and strongly encouraged me to start writing these articles.
Both Dad & Mum conspired to gently push me to start and continue the Byte Me articles and it was pressure that I needed and am now grateful for. My parents became my most avid readers and found purpose in driving to their local newsagency in Yeppoon every Saturday to grab a copy of the latest article, cut it out and present it to me carefully folded and put into an envelope.
I could always tell how long it had been between my visits to Mum & Dad by the number of envelopes waiting on their entry table. This simple action and their kind words helped me find the time each week to sit down and write some more. My Dad will be commemorated on Monday with the public funeral at the Rockhampton Memorial Gardens in Nerimbera at 2:30pm & I will attempt to deliver a fitting eulogy.
Organising the funeral, finding photos & verses and remembering key life events this last week has been very confronting. This has also coincided with cards, letters, calls and visits from relatives and friends that mutually have been too busy to catch up. It is a time of extreme mixed emotions – initially the most bitter but more eventually the most sweet. It has caused reason for reflection on many things from personal to global.
My Dad was from an era that saw only gradual societal changes. Sure it was marked with two World Wars and their ensuing influence however there was only slow technological change. Both before and after these wars people still has similar hobbies, they still worked for the same employer for years, they still shopped for groceries the same way and they still entertained themselves with conversation, cards or radio.
Now we see a rate of change of technology that is hard for even the tech Geeks to keep up with. People are demanding and expecting access to information, access to loved ones, access to hobbies and interests at any time of the day and from any location. There is an unprecedented push for new technologies that absorb our attention, deliver entertainment content or keep us in touch. Where will this lead?
I have never been a supporter of the ‘robots will take over the world’ camp regardless of it being the basis for some interesting movies as we still cannot give a machine a personality. So thoughts of greed and world domination are not possible in a machine, unless we can develop an artificial replica of the human brain – which is something that we are not even close to doing yet.
I see more problems in the breakdown of the family unit as parents let their kids be ‘entertained’ by a computer screen or portable game device. There are also unprecedented levels of obesity, depression and anxiety that are either fuelled by bad foods or a lack of physical activity, or a lack of love and companionship or parts of all three.
No one can stand in the way of technological change but we need more focus on how to manage this change to try to keep on top of the societal problems that it is causing. Technology is a great thing when it saves or enriches lives but this is not always the end result.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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