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Today, I watched as somebody was attempting to access a website over the data connection on their smartphone. It was slow. Even though what he was trying to do would have been nearly unthinkable ten or twenty years ago, it was now looking archaic, particularly since someone else was getting ready to write down the website address on a piece of paper—now, that really is archaic.
Yesterday, I was sorting out some difficulties with my smartphone and computer being able to synchronize through my cloud account. This is a very useful possibility, however, my personal stuff is being stored on a server that is out there somewhere and that makes me wonder how safe it is from hackers. Probably something similar struck folks the first time they put their money in a bank.
If you have read some of my other writings or have been following my blog, you will know well that I tackle technology issues often. I think we all need to consider carefully about where the technopath is leading us. One very important question I feel we should be asking is, does it make us more human and truly improve our lives? Just about everybody I meet and talk to about technology is excited about what it can do. It is undoubtably amazing.
My purpose here is to look at what has happened in recent history, where we are, and to urge you to consider and to think. Then, I want to take a stab at extrapolating to determine where we might be going. Let me start with a few observations.
I’ll just quickly mention that my first experience with the telephone was with the one phone we had in our house and the line we shared with neighbours. It was known as a party line. I remember when the digital calculator came along. Mechanical calculators had been used for years. Many were huge and all were too big to carry around. Digital, hand-held calculators allowed people to carry them around and use them in all situations. People seemed to lose the ability to do simple addition in their heads. My parents and aunts could add rows of figures fast on paper, usually faster than I could punch the numbers into a calculator. I was among the last of high school students who were not allowed to use calculators in math classes.
I also remember life before the personal computer. The manual typewriter reigned and typesetting and graphics were produced by industry experts with special equipment. Eventually, the typewriter became electric and one day, it got a very small screen that could show a few words that had just been typed and, most importantly, allowed one to back up and make a change to what had just been typed. I’m sure you can see where that led. The personal computer debuted from Apple, invented by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, changed the world by a huge leap.
It didn’t take long before these individual computers started to be connected together. We’ll take a jump here to mention the next major change. Many groups of connected computers existed, however, the Internet prevailed as the largest. The Internet was born during the cold war and was designed to provide a way of communicating that could not be interrupted. In other words, the Internet can’t be disconnected or destroyed. This is a characteristic we should all keep in mind. Another original segment of the Internet was used by educational, scientific and research institutions to store and share information.
There are a few other pieces to the puzzle that I should like to mention. Cameras have become digital, no longer requiring film that had to be processed before a photograph could be seen. Photography has not only become instant, but cameras have been shrinking and gaining quality. This also applies to video cameras. Most people wear a wrist watch. While the phone has morphed into a multifunctional digital computer device, I find it amazing that it is only now the wrist watch is about to be replaced. Perhaps replaced is not the correct word. Absorbed might be better. The cell phone has been absorbing many devices we use.
Here is one more and probably the most important piece of the puzzle. Our information. We are living in what has been described as ‘the information age.’ All this, the devices that have been getting absorbed, is about storing and sharing our information. As this becomes faster and easier, we find we have more of it. It is mind boggling. We need more technology to help us remember, manage, organize and use all the information we have.
Thus, here we are, most people carrying around a small device that is a computer and communicator. It is cumbersome in that, we have a very small screen to look at, a small keyboard to enter information and it often fails. Sometimes, some of us revert back to using paper in conjunction with the digital device. It is difficult for us to read large amounts of information on screen so we print it. We wear a separate device to tell time. Our pockets and our purses are filled with everything from money in the form of cash to sophisticated credit cards with computer chips in them.
I have watched as computers that used to take up entire rooms became terminals connected to a central computer, to computers that sat on or under a desk, to computers that could be held in one’s lap, to a computer/telephone/camera/multifunctional digital device that fits in one’s hand. And that, as it turns out, is beginning to look awkward, cumbersome and slow, in other words archaic.
So, where are we going?
We all love our digital devices. I like to think that we feel we can turn them off whenever we want, although this seldom happens. While they seem handy in many ways, technology always seems to find new ways to get closer to us, to infiltrate our lives even more.
My prediction, actually it is already beginning to happen, is that we may soon be looking at the ability to have our digital devices implanted in our bodies binging all the capabilities we now enjoy with our current technologies and much more, much faster and without the awkwardness and cumbersomeness we experience today. Why would somebody want to do this?
Why would somebody want to carry a telephone around with them 242/7? Why would somebody want to be able to have complex math, complicated problems and simply be able to store and access vast amounts of information without much thought? Why not have images and video display instantly in your mind? Who would not want to get rid of their wallet full of valuable information and money that can be stolen or lost? You would not need a passport. Nobody else could use your device and you could not lose it.
The world, through the Internet, is becoming a giant brain. Sometimes I see an image of a human head that looks like the Earth and has web-like lines covering the brain. As we feed it more information about us, it grows and grows smarter about us. Why would we not want to tap into this huge vastness of human experience? Why would we even need our awkward, cumbersome physical bodies?
Why would anyone really want to do this? As with most technologies, there might be some resistance at first, however, it usually does enter our lives. Online banking is one. I remember thinking I would never trust my banking to be done online. Somehow, perhaps by charges or by convenience, I have adopted online banking. The RFID chip credit card was thrust upon us without choice. There are instances where one can’t make a purchase without a credit card. Will the day arrive when the only card accepted is a chip card? Can you see where I am going with this?
In considering these issues and situations, I have wondered if a revolt by a large group might change the path we are on? Might some people withdraw from allowing deeper infiltration of technology in their lives? Could there end up being two or more groups, such as those with implants and those without? Can technology completely replace the human brain, or is the human spirt what truly make us human and what can’t be absorbed or infiltrated by technology?
There are prophecies in the Bible about the sorts of predictions I have written about here and Bible prophecies have always come true.