On today's podcast, I talked about feeling grateful for the technology in our lives and how it's helped shape the world around us. I really want to reach out to those of you who maybe have grown up with technology around you, or have seen it come into play as you were already an adult, and you've seen the rise of technology. Maybe some of you are pretty excited by technology, and just love the things that it can do in your life. Maybe some of you are a little bit intimidated about technology or it confuses you, or even a little bit scared by it.
Surrounded by Technology
All of us are surrounded by new technology in today's world. Even if you live in an underdeveloped country in Africa, you've probably got a cell phone, and you probably can get on the internet. In my household, we are not wealthy by any means, we're very average Americans. But even so, we have technology surrounding us. We counted up one time and there were something like 11, 12, 13 computers in our house. I can't remember if we were just counting laptops and desktops, we may have been also counting cell phones and tablets, also. But it was still just crazy. How can we have that many? I remember when you would save up just to get your one computer for the whole family. But we aren't alone.
A Two-Edged Sword
Sometimes today it feels like people tend to just talk about the addiction to technology and the problems with technology. Everybody's like, "I hate social media," while at the same time, almost everybody's still using it. We're kind of having this negative vibe in the world about technology right now, but at the same time, we've all been so blessed by it. In reality, it's a two-edged sword.
On one hand, technology enhances and simplifies our lives. On the other hand, it can make it so complicated. I think of something as simple as the fact that in my husband's job, since he works with teams that are in nine different countries, all around the world, he can be on Skype, talking to people in Ecuador, at 9:00 in the morning. Then, at noon, he's emailing with somebody that's in Africa, and toward the afternoon, he's maybe having some kind of a discussion with somebody in Nepal. That's amazing and would not have even been possible a couple decades ago! Yet now, it doesn't even really seem like that big of a deal, because we've all sort of gotten used to it. We don't acknowledge how much technology has blessed our ability to communicate and connect with one another.
Challenges of Modern Technology
I think sometimes we tend to just look at the challenge of it. And there's no question that there are challenges. For instance, in my husband's case, he sits down to answer a simple email, or to send off a quick document, and the computer tells him that it's rebooting the system, or it's upgrading something, and it just won't work how it's supposed to. So a simple two minute task takes more than half an hour.
Like last week, I could feel he was a little bit frustrated, working here from the home office. I was like, "Is there anything I can do to help?" He's just like, "You can help me by keeping me from taking an ax and just destroying this computer!" It's like the very technology that helps us so much also can hinder us. So lately, I've just been thinking about that a little bit and trying to figure out how we can best interact with technology, because we know that it helps us, but we know that it can also challenge us.
Blessings of Technology
I think it's important that while we are aware of the challenges of technology, we also acknowledge how it has improved our lives. Here's a little simple one. A town near me actually got some kind of award for having some of the best traffic signals in the country. It was because they've timed the traffic signals to work with the flow of traffic, depending on the time of day, so that if you are going the speed limit through this very busy part of town, and you're following along, right around at the speed limit, you will hit all the lights green as you go through. Maybe there's this series of 12 or 13 stoplights, but you will only maybe hit one or two of those as you're going along, because they have timed it to help the flow of traffic. At the same time, it will pause and let the other direction go still very regularly. They've just timed it so well, and that's pretty cool.
Before the modern advances of technology, this would have been impossible. Just think about something that simple, and yet we don't appreciate it! We just complain when we hit the one red light. We don't think about the fact that a couple of decades earlier, out of those 13 stoplights, we would have been stopped at maybe 10 of them. We get through that very busy part of town during a busy time of the day in a really smooth fashion. There's a very simple way that technology has helped our lives.
Right now, we have a huge surge in technology to help with our health, including wearable technology that you can use to monitor your heart rate, and to help you keep track of your steps, and how many calories you're burning. I mean, it's just getting better all the time. It's helping our lives to be healthier in that way.
It's a Whole New Work World
I think one of the biggest things where technology has helped us is allowing people to work from their homes and work around their personal lives. It can be a danger, because technology is around you, so you can be sitting in a room full of your entire family, and you can all just be messing around on your devices and not even have a good conversation. That is definitely a danger. We need to be aware of it and think about it, when sometimes you look up, and you're like, "Hey, we're all on our devices. Hey, let's all put down our devices and play a game." You know, of course we need to be looking for that and being cautious of that.
At the same time, my husband can work from home several days of week because of technology, because if there's an important meeting in the office, he doesn't necessarily have to be there in person, because he can join in on a video call. He can work from his desk and sometimes be more effective at home, because he doesn't have coworkers asking him to do things. He can actually just focus on getting his own work tasks taken care of.
I can work from home, also. I do transcription, I do closed-captioning at home, and I work for several other freelance companies where I do some different web consulting and things that I could not do from home. I am sitting here right now recording a podcast that I don't know if it will ever be a profitable business, but it's definitely a passion project of mine, that I could be reaching somebody in France that's listening to this, at some point. I don't even know who's going to listen to it, but it could be anybody. So many people throughout the world. I'm just sitting in my bedroom with a good microphone and a connection to the internet.
It is just amazing how we can connect, and how we can be more productive, and the ways that we can be more creative in the way that we make money, and the way that we live our lives. It's all because of the advancement of modern technology.
Don't Jump on the "Negative About Technology" Bandwagon
Today, I just wanted to give a little plug about that, about, just be aware of the conversations that go on about you about technology, because it's kind of like everybody tends to jump on the "be negative about technology" bandwagon. We need some technology advocates out there! Yes, technology can be challenging, but it also blesses our lives in so many ways. I didn't even scratch the surface.
That is it for today. I hope that I helped you have just a little thought to look around yourself today, and look at how technology has blessed your life. Look at the gadgets you have. Maybe it's your dishwasher. Maybe it's the little light that flashes on in your car to let you know that you need to put oil in it. Maybe it is noticing that several stoplights in a row are green. I want you to look around you, and I want you to be grateful for the time period that you live in and think about how technology has blessed your lives, while of course always being cautious for how it can hinder our lives. Just being aware and being grateful for it.