Technological advances

Flights Of Fantasy

[ M Panging Pao ]
Modern age has witnessed rapid advances in technology which has a major impact on our daily lives. New technologies, new appliances and new applications have altered the way we work, the way we live and the way we enjoy. Newer technology has transformed our slower, lazier lifestyle to faster, busier, well-connected lifestyle. Today, most things work at the click of a button or the touch of a fingertip.
Many appliances previously considered indispensable have been rendered redundant by newer technology. The many common household items made redundant by technology include VCR/VCD players, cassette players, landline phones, fax machines, cable TV, etc.
Previously prevalent kerosene lanterns and stoves have been replaced by electricity, solar lamps and gas stoves. 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 is gradually becoming redundant. Earlier, one could spot numerous bullock carts, horse carts used to transport men and materials. Earlier, one could spot many buffaloes and bullocks required for ploughing the fields. The advent of tractors and four-wheel drive vehicles has lessened the requirements 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 and Yahoo on mobiles and laptops. Classic books are giving way to e-books and Kindle versions.
Smart mobile phones alone have turned many older appliances redundant. The facilities embedded in a single smart phone led to the redundancy of cameras, handy cams, torch lights, calculators, alarm clocks and calendars. Smart phone applications like WhatApp, Xender, SMS, scanner, etc, have made fax machines, scanners totally redundant. Smart phones have emerged as the most valuable multipurpose gadget for one and all.
The way technology is leapfrogging ahead, many present-day appliances are facing redundancy threats. 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 by the vices of new technologies. If humans lose these core values, 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 despite modern technology? (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)