It amazes me sometimes how dependent we have become on technology.
Today I was at a client site, and their network guy was on the phone with Barracuda debugging some issues with their firewall/web filter. I overheard most of the conversation. Barracuda would have him adjust something, and he would respond with whatever result came up. At one point I heard him say, “Well, looks like I lost internet completely. The backup server should have kicked in but it didn’t”, or words to that effect.
Just then, I overheard another employee – who was trying to use the internet – snort and exclaim “Piece of junk!”.
Really? Have our expectations of technology really gotten to the point that a temporary outage makes something a “piece of junk”?
Just a few years ago that same employee would have been digging through boxes of files in some sort of dark, dusty warehouse somewhere instead of sitting at his desk with all of the world’s knowledge at his fingertips. At that time I’m sure he would have longingly dreamed to have the kind of convenience he has now – yet now it has become the norm for him. Anything less is a “piece of junk”.
It reminds me of a comedian I saw a few years ago on one of the late night talk shows. He related the tale of an airplane flight he had taken. The flight attendant had just made the announcement that the airline had just installed a wi-fi network on the plane, and now the passengers could have internet access during the flight. The guy next to him got really excited, pulled out his laptop, and started working.
A few minutes into the flight the wi-fi network, or perhaps the satellite they were accessing, went down. The guy with the laptop let out a huge sigh and slammed his laptop closed. In response, the comedian looked at the guy and said, “Look buddy – we are sitting in a huge metal tube, floating on air and traveling at hundreds of miles per hour (which I think is miraculous), and you’re pissed because something that you didn’t have last week isn’t working this week?”
Of course, the comedian made it into a joke – which I can’t do here – but the sentiments are exactly the point of this post. How did we become so dependent on technology (or worse yet, a slave to it)?
Another example from my own life – a couple weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon (yes, I was working), we had a power failure. Now I can – as a kid – remember when having a power failure was kinda fun. There was an odd kind of excitement when it happened, and it was way less of an inconvenience . Of course, “back then”, far fewer things were dependent on electricity. We easily coped.
In 2012, a power failure is not fun. At all. Our water is pumped using electricity (during the winter even our in-floor heating won’t work – pumps too, ya know?). The garage door won’t open. I can no longer work because our internet access is gone. Half of our food is in a freezer in the garage – lose that and we lose a lot. Good luck trying to drive anywhere – when the power’s out, it just ain’t gonna happen unless you don’t mind looking for hidden back roads.
I did spend about 30 minutes trying to find a portable radio and batteries to see if I could pick up any news. My phone worked, but none of the news sites I usually visit had anything up-to-date, so I figured the local radio stations might have a clue what happened. It took 30 minutes because 1) I had left my cycling radio at work, 2) I could not get the first radio I found to work, and 3) I could not find good batteries. I have now made sure that situation is corrected.
So, are we (getting /have gotten) too dependent on technology? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.