What lies ahead: The importance of remaining in the know

With so many new developments in technology, it frightening to think that the “hyper-real” that we experience now with vivid high-definition TV pictures is soon going to be applicable throughout our everyday lives.   It seems unbelievable that one would not be able to discern the difference between information that is “real,” and information that is computerized and/or fictional. One of the “Imagining the Internet predictions from Janna Anderson’s research read: “Even the trees will whisper in networks of information.”

It is difficult to think about the fact that soon, a simple trip to the mountains to take a break from the hustle and bustle of busy work life is going to be interrupted by technological factors that will be present almost everywhere. As we discussed in class today, the Internet is “personal, portable, pervasive and precarious.” The single fact that stood out the most from class discussion was the statement that by 2040, the Web will exceed the processing power of humanity. By that time, I will be 53 years old. While I am keeping up with technology at the current moment, I cannot fathom a world in which computers would possess this much power.
There is continuous pressure for people of all ages—not just those involved in the communications industry, to stay up-to-date with current technology. I have attempted to teach some elderly people how to use a cell phone with little success. This is mostly because they have stuck with their landlines, seeing no need for a cell phone. Beyond the fact that they cannot enter telephone numbers in the address book or send text messages, there is an overlying unfamiliarity with the basic interface of cell phones (i.e. left and right hot keys, the navigation arrows and the menu function). Most of us take our knowledge of this basic cell phone layout for granted. Upon getting a new cell phone, we don’t think twice about how to open it, or which key to look for to turn it on. Soon, it will be more of a challenge.

Nokia is on the cutting edge of developing a cell phone that has the ability to change appearance, fold in half, self-clean and snap onto one’s wrist like a bracelet (among many other clever functions). Mass marketing of this product is not far off, and more complex products will be developed following Nokia’s initial release. It will be essential for members of society (i.e. “prosumers”), to stay up-to-date with this new technology and continue to seek out information about future technologies.
The cell phone is just one illustration of the importance of remaining “in the know” about developing technology and what lies ahead. Those in the communications industry are being challenged to network with professionals and self-educate regarding new tools for the future. Society as a whole should follow suit. The concepts of “everyware” and “hyper-real” indicate that technology will be so integrated in our everyday lives that it will be difficult to function without the knowledge of new developments.
The most frightening future technology is the idea of brain chips because at that point, technology surpasses a mere “seamless integration” and actually becomes one with the human race.


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