Technology in Everyday Life
Technology in the home has made its greatest leaps to date between the end of the last century and today. According to the US Census Bureau, in the year 2000 a television was still the most technologically advanced item in nearly half of American households, with only 51 percent of American homes containing a personal computer and only 41.5 percent having internet access.
Today, not only do the vast majority of American households have computers and internet access, they also have computer and internet technology in highly transportable form in the shape of their phones available to them at all times at the simple touch of a screen.
While we often hear about the digital downsides of today’s technology, such as data security breaches, privacy concerns, over-reliance on gadgets, screen addiction, social-media pressure, social disconnect, and more, it’s also important to consider the many ways that technology has improved our lives. For example, advancing technology in air travel gave us access to the world.
Also, such seemingly basic technologies as the best ceiling fans and the invention of air conditioning systems made life bearable in hot tropical climates, thus increasing population in those areas and changing the population dynamics of many countries. Refrigeration has prevented illnesses and deaths from food spoilage. Improved medical technology saves lives and extends the expected lifespan of all individuals. Technology improvements in homes now allow us to wash laundry and dishes without having to get our hands wet, and we can heat up food in only seconds.
Technology in The Home
While in the past, choosing a movie for family movie night or an at-home date night meant driving to a video store and choosing something from the shelf, today’s technology gives us the means to browse through endless options without having to leave our home—or even our recliner. We can also locate and watch a specific title on a whim. We no longer have to wait a week for the next episode of a great series, but instead can “binge-watch” an entire season on our own time.
Technology has also been a (literal) game-changer in the enjoyment of video games. We no longer have to walk to a local arcade to play games but instead can enjoy them at home, while interactively playing with others in the virtual world.
Any question we have, such as the latest football scores, weather forecasts, or whether or not viking women really fought in battles along with men, can be answered at the touch of a screen—or with a verbal command. In many homes today, we no longer have to pick up a remote to change the channel or increase the volume. A simple voice command is all that’s needed.
How Technology Has Changed Our Workplace World
It may be hard for some of today’s younger employees to imagine, but not so long ago the typical office was run with metal filing cabinets, typewriters, and meeting rooms. Further, travel was required for meeting with associates in other locations.
Technology has removed obstacles of time and distance in workplace communication. Today, nearly 80 percent of employees have work which involves virtual teams where they connect and work on projects together without ever having to be in the same room. In fact, many employees now work completely remotely from their own homes, something that would have been unheard of even twenty years ago. Team technology today has made working together easy, even when coworkers are not in the same state or even in the same country.
Inside the office environment itself, so many technological advances have changed the way we work that an office worker of the past wouldn’t have any idea how to function effectively with emails, computers, video conferences, and smartphones, all of the advancements of technology that have rendered paper in the office nearly obsolete.
Technology in Education
Advances in technology have effectively improved the way information is transferred to students. Gone are the days when textbooks became outdated within a few years but were still used to teach students. Today’s students have the absolute latest information available on any subject at their fingertips. Students can study and participate in instruction from remote locations, meaning technology has dramatically increased access to education. Group projects are easily collaborated on thanks to technology such as Google docs and wikis.
With technology at their fingertips, today’s students of higher learning aren’t so much instructed by their teachers as they are guided through their own learning and gathering of pertinent and relevant information.
Technology in Our Personal Lives
Advances in technology have not only changed how we learn and how we work; it has also made its way into our personal lives in a big way. For many, their primary method of socializing is through the traversal of the digital world. Social media has become the medium we use to gather with friends and have personal conversations with others much more often in our daily lives then actually physically meeting with others.
While this change may have its drawbacks, as some people become addicted to the stimulation they receive through social recognition online, and others become anxious or depressed over a lack of it, it has also had tremendous benefits. People can now engage in relationships with friends and family who live far away in a manner that was not possible twenty years ago. Search mediums help us to locate people that we’ve fallen out of contact with and allow reconnections.
Technology has also changed the way we date, with dating sites and groups. According to a recent study, today, one out of six marriages begin online, and result in marriage significantly faster than in those who meet in more traditional ways. Marriages that begin online are also less likely to end in divorce or separation within the first year. This could very well be the result of computer algorithms which match personality types and common goals in couples, effectively narrowing the choices to only those who we are most compatible with.
Technology in the Future
While it’s not really possible to imagine every change that advancing technology will make in our futures, just as people of fifty years ago couldn’t imagine the technology we enjoy today, there are some changes that we can see coming in the relatively near future.
According to the tech savvy, we will soon be enjoying foldable, non-breakable phone screens, as well as other items made out of an atom-thin material that is 100 times stronger than steel. Graphene is definitely a new technology to watch and is anticipated to change many aspects of our lives.
Advanced robotics are also coming over the horizon and will change the workplace, schools, and homes in ways we have yet to fathom. Quantum computing and unlimited free cloud space or data storage is also technology to follow and are expected to soon play a role in our professional and home lives.
3D printing is also expected to go from novelty to necessity when it comes to manufacturing, medicine, and many other aspects of our lives.
We may not know exactly where the technology of the future will take us, but at the fast rate in which it’s progressing, the future may not be so far away.