It has been happening since the invention of the first tool made by human hands: Technology changes us. It certainly changed me and those around me. My mother changed, who’s been around for quite some time and is comfortable using her smartphone and her tablet. My nephews are changing too only they are doing it way faster than I did at their age. There’s a reason for that: Technology is today faster than it used to be.
It doesn’t have to do as much with concepts such as The Internet of Things, or Big Data. Those things are cool names, trends, definitions that help us understand the extent of what “Digital” really means these days. The change has to do more with speed and enabling humans more than it did in the past. Speed because inventing something new doesn’t require you to learn a manual craft anymore, unless coding is considered one. Enabling, because now more than ever we can do a myriad of things by just tapping a screen.
I remember a time when cell phones were just not there. If you were going to meet someone, you called them before leaving home. If you were late, you were late and if you were early well, all the better. You just couldn’t reach people at your own will at any given time. Privacy was a given. I also remember when texting first appeared. Even more impactful than cellphones…as you could just write and send. Way better than beepers, right? You remember those?
I can’t even remember how many cell phones I’ve had since I got my first Nokia. I do remember wanting a slider one after watching The Matrix. My first iPhone I remember though. There’s a reason for that: Technology changed itself, it learnt to appeal to us more. It did that so, so fast that all of us who had other “cool” phones didn’t even understand why we wanted a new one. We couldn’t even imagine how this Computer Company called Apple would be successful at designing a phone and selling it!
And now here we are, designing entire applications, businesses, empires based on the screen of an iPhone and every other device that came after it. More apps are downloaded every single day today than books are written in a single year. Technology has changed the habits of anyone older than 30, and it’s created a set of new ones for younger people.
How many books have you read in the past year…and how many apps have you downloaded?
I saw at least 25 people hunting Pokémon today, I stopped counting when I realized I was hunting Pokémon hunters. I got my iPhone out and opened Google Maps, found the address of the restaurant I was going to and decided to walk there. While I had checked for online reservations, I decided to risk it and just walk-in, put away the phone and walked, as my prescription glasses started turning dark. Another technology, far from digital, is responsible for making that happen so the sun doesn’t bother my eyes.
Once I got there, I ordered the “Plat du Jour”, which came with a small Nespresso coffee pod. I paid in cash, which was a surprise to the cashier. My sandwich was grilled on an electric grill, and they used French brie, which had been shipped not one week before it got there. My plate was recyclable, my beautiful espresso identical to the thousands of other Nespresso pods that were drank that day. All of my food, my lunch and walking experience was influenced, touched, ultimately changed. It wouldn’t have been like that 15 years ago, would it?
Technology will kill some of your rituals and give you other ones, like charging your phone or devices before you go to bed. You can’t help it and what’s more important, you don’t want to do it. The struggle only becomes evident when you first meet a new piece of Technology that attempts to change the way you do things. But it does go away as you adapt…and let it change you.
It is happening right now…can you feel it? It’s you being changed by Technology.
Also published on Medium.