05 July 2019
I’ve always believed that technology dances with the spirit of life… and I did not use the word humanity because from agriculture and medicine to entertainment and information, from the ethics of politics and the economics of infrastructure, and even from the sweat and blood of relationships to the heat and dust of yearnings it is technological innovations that determine the path that decisions take. Yes, there are times when we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run but this word literally rolls in the history, geography, and the sociology of moments like nothing else does.
Technology is the new high in education, a supremely heady feeling that isn’t all fizz and fun because what drives it is a concern for everything that exists. So if you thought technology was all about looking for a television that was way beyond QLED and SUHD, buying only the latest iPhone or Galaxy Note, or that this instinct hobnobbed only with brands like Rolex, Lamborghini, Bang & Olufsen, Bose, and Hasselblad, you’re terribly wrong.
Really? Isn’t it always the latest expensive and exclusive innovative offering that gives joy its most influential adrenaline shots? The answer is NO. I realized this fact half-way up a short but steep trek near Chakrata. As we slowly made our way up the rock-strewn path, another trekker on his way down stopped and said, ‘There are plenty of sturdy branches in this part of the trek. Choose one. It helps you while going up and makes the return journey really comfortable’. Seeing the expression of doubt on our faces he smiled and added, ‘Your knees will thank you for your choice. Trekking poles would have been ideal but now that you don’t have even walking sticks, the jungle gives you nature’s alternative to technology.’
That trekker was right. Technology doesn’t always come covered with complex ICs and mind-boggling end-results of machine intelligence. Technology doesn’t always need metallurgy and ceramics experts to help new-age AI brains rest in a comfortable and safe housing. Technology is an idea that is smart enough to silence the ‘if’ in life.
Technology goes out into the fields to help farmers understand everything from the uncertainties of the weather to the economics of type of crop that will maximize yield. This enigma is there in our hospitals and medical specialists to help us remain healthier for longer. Yes, technology also makes connecting with the world so much easier. If you think technology is a serious looking bloke doing things that makes us work smarter, you’re right because it does just that but also ushers in a lot of fun for all ages. After all, if it wasn’t for technology we wouldn’t today be sitting and asking Alexa to switch on our lights and kids wouldn’t be tapping a few buttons to get fuller explanations of complex issues.
However, technology not only demands more attention and has a steep learning curve at times, it also brings with it issues circumnavigating environmental pollution, and issues of stressed out minds that then look for escape routes. There is then the ever-increasing menace of hackers and tech-savvy thieves who are forever out with newer ways to give crime a new dimension.
Technology is both amazing as well as intimidating for a lot of the 7.5 billion people on earth of which barely 40% are comfortable with living their lives with the internet meandering through moments. We are living in a world where more than 350,000 tweets per minute, thousands of virtual friends on the social media platforms, and 24 hours of video uploaded per minute jostle for our attention. We are living in heady times when the future casually asks us to embrace self-driven cars, accept the growing power of cryptocurrency, and allow robots to accomplish tasks that we were doing.
So yes, when a friend asked me what I thought about technology, I replied, ‘Technology is a double shot of espresso. It can make the heart beat faster in excitement and can leave you sleepless for a long time.’