Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
Rapid advances in technology have had a major impact on our lives. New appliances, new applications and new technologies have altered the way we work, the way we live, and the way we enjoy! Newer technology has transformed our slower, lazier lifestyles to faster, busier, well-connected ones. Today, most things work at the click of a button or the touch of a fingertip.
Many appliances considered indispensable previously have been rendered redundant by newer technology. The many household items made redundant by technology include VCR/VCD players, cassette players, landline phones, fax machines, cable TV, etc. Electronic photography has led to the redundancy of photo studios and, consequently, photo albums. Today all photos and videos are electronically stored in computers and hard drives.
Formerly, many people relied on kerosene-operated lanterns for light and kerosene-operated stoves for cooking. Just a few years ago, towns and villages were dotted with STD booths used by people to call and talk to friends and relatives. Today there are no STD booths; rather, the use of landline telephones itself is gradually becoming redundant.
Earlier, one could spot numerous bullock carts and horse carts used to transport men and materials. Earlier, one could spot buffaloes and bullocks required for ploughing the fields. The advent of tractors and four-wheel drive vehicles has lessened the requirement of buffaloes and bullocks for ploughing or for carrying men and materials.
Previously, erudite people used to go to libraries to study books, and to refer to encyclopaedias and reference books.
Today libraries are rarely used and encyclopaedias are rarely referred to. People are not even referring to dictionaries. Everything is searched on Google or Yahoo on mobiles and laptops. Classic books are giving way to e-books and Kindle versions.
Smart mobile phones single-handedly turned many older appliances redundant. The facilities embedded in smart phones led to the redundancy of cameras, handy cams, flashlights, calculators, alarm clocks and calendars. Smart phone applications like WhatsApp, Xender, SMS, scanner, etc, have made fax machines and scanners totally redundant. Smart phones have emerged as the most valuable multipurpose gadget for one and all.
The way technology is leapfrogging ahead, soon many present-day appliances may face the threat of redundancy. These include desktop computers, incandescent light bulbs, SMS/MMS, calculators, books, paper money, wallets, wrist watches, etc. With the impending advent of electric vehicles, soon petrol pumps may also become redundant!
Newer technologies are affecting human character and behaviour also. Modern gadgets are making humans lazier, inactive, unhealthy, mannerless, and individualistic. However, certain seamless and timeless human values like integrity, honesty, strong character, etc, should be strong enough to withstand the onslaught of the vices of new technologies. If humans lose these core values also, the future of human life would be in peril. The survival of human race would depend on preservation of these core values, irrespective of new technologies. Can we sustain these core values? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)