Are we too dependent on technology?

pyramidIn a day and age where almost everything runs on electricity – lights, entertainment, cooking, communication – it can be hard to fathom a life without it. From smartphones to Saturday night movies set to dim lights and the scent of microwaved popcorn, power is a part of our everyday lives; we’ve grown accustomed to such amenities, but what happens when those capabilities aren’t available? Whether due to Mother Nature, dead batteries, no signal, or some other unforeseen circumstance, sometimes power just isn’t as readily available as we’d like.

Without our normal everyday access, certain tasks become seemingly impossible – at least at first, like checking the weather or looking up which Grease actor won the most Tonys in 1972. One is left to memory (or, *gasp*, an encyclopedia) and the other requires a technology that was invented more than a century ago: the radio. However, no matter how cave-like life without technology may sound, some days it’s just a necessity.

How Would We Fare?

Should worse come to worst, though, how would we stand up against life without technology in today’s world? Zombie apocalypse, natural disaster, electricity overload – whatever the cause, could the human race make it? How many of us actually know how to build a campfire, build a shelter, and live off the land without looking up instructions online?

It may sound like a long shot, and in all likelihood, when the power goes out, it’s usually only for minutes at a time (sometimes even hours or days), but the possibility is always there that it could be much worse.

A Growing Trend

Ever since inventions such as televisions and computers started making their way into middle class homes, their use has been a part of everyday activity. And, as the technologies grew, so has the amount of use they get each day. Now, it’s normal for users to be on a phone and/or computer the majority of the day. With so much time logged on, however, it’s left few hours for us to contemplate life without such amenities. The more time we spend plugged in, the harder it is to imagine life unplugged.

No matter your stance on electronics and the future, it’s always a good idea to accept the possibility that things can and often do go wrong. Phones won’t get service, TVs will break, and internet connections can be interrupted. While it may not happen often, having a backup plan is a great way to stay prepared, no matter what happens.

What will technology be like when Generation Y gets old?

When I think about the future, I wonder what technology will be 40 years from now. Today’s older generation love to boast to the younger crowd about how they got through life without computers, tablets, or smartphones. However, when I’m older, what am I going to say to the younger generation? “When I was your age, we didn’t have mind-controlled submarines!”?

It’s certainly interesting to think about, and while we can’t accurately predict what new technologies will be invented during the next 30 or 40 years (since anything can happen), it’s still fun to predict at least how technology might evolve over the next few decades.

In my opinion, technology has evolved and progressed so quickly the past 10 years alone that I feel like it’s going to reach a plateau soon. We’ll still have the traditional computers, tablets, and smartphones, but they’ll simply be thinner, lighter, and much faster. That is until a completely new revolution comes along, like when personal computers came into fruition or when the automobile was invented.

Then again, I have no idea what “completely new revolution” will come since it hasn’t even been invented yet. I mean, before automobiles and planes were invented, nobody had any idea that we’d be able to travel to another part of the world in less than a day. That’s how I feel about the future of technology when I’m 65 — what crazy new things will be invented at that point that I never would have dreamed of?

The only reason that I say that technology might be reaching a plateau soon is that Moore’s Law simply cannot last forever, even though it’s lasted almost a half-century so far. It’s said to only be around until around 2020, give or take a few years.

If you’re not familiar with Moore’s Law, it’s basically an observation of sorts where the number of transistors that can fit onto an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. It’s named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and coined by computer scientist and former Caltech professor Carver Mead.

One of my biggest questions is, when Moore’s Law eventually collapses, how will technology evolve? Will there be another “law” that replaces Moore’s Law? Or will technology simply just evolve at a slower pace than before?

Image Credit: Sean McEntee