Sunday, January 15, 2012

Technology: it’s only natural

I always blog on Sundays. And, I always make sure that my blogs have a “technology” theme. My blogs use the power of the Internet to talk about technology and to reinforce how we all need to embrace and master technology.  Well, here’s the kicker: as soon as you are finished reading this blog, you should turn off your computer, turn off your cell phone and just about any other “making life better through technology” device and go for a walk. Read on, if you want to share my epiphany.

The Luddites were a social movement of 19th-century English textile artisans who protested – often by destroying mechanized looms – against the changes produced by the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were leaving them without work and changing their way of life. The movement emerged in the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic Wars and difficult working conditions in the new textile factories. The principal objection of the Luddites was to the introduction of new wide-framed automated looms that could be operated by cheap, relatively unskilled labor resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers. Mills and pieces of factory machinery were burned by handloom weavers, and for a short time Luddites were so strong that they clashed in battles with the British Army. In modern usage, "Luddite" is a term describing those opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technologies in general.

How does this thing called technology happen anyway?  I mean, how did mankind go from learning how to walk upright, to exploring space? For sake of time, I’ll speed up the timeline:
·         Man, this walking upright stuff is cool! No more dragging knuckles on the ground for me!
·         Hey, this walking around on two legs stuff is hard work. That thing over there with four legs (the domesticated horse) seems to love walking and running. I think I will try to catch it and tame it and then I can ride around on its back.
·         Maybe I can make a type of wagon (the wheel) and pull it behind a bunch of horses with all of my friends inside (the stagecoach). 
·         Man, that steam engine thing is really cool; I wonder if it is powerful enough to pull a whole bunch of stagecoaches all linked together (the train).
·         Trains are really cool, but I really wish I could go anywhere, at any time, not just forced to stay on these train tracks (the automobile).
·         Cars and trucks are great, but those birds really seem to have it made (the airplane). And so it goes…..
When did the first cavemen decide to kill that thing with the nice warm coat of fur, because running around naked was just not getting it done? Or make the first pair of shoes, because walking barefoot on the sharp rocks was too painful? There had to be a better way.  Fast forward to today: NYC and 5th Avenue Shopping.

When did man get the first idea to cook his food over an open flame? I wonder if the first “steak” was cooked medium rare? But more importantly, why did man start cooking at all? And how did cooking food before you eat it catch on (all over the world) as a good idea? Fast forward to today:  and
Advances in technology are always great.  New and better technology will always change lives (and the world) for the better. Until it doesn’t.
Technology allowed man to go from walking > riding > flying > space. Faster is always better, right? Faster and faster and faster! Until going faster can kill you.
Before the internet, having more than a few dozen “friends” was impossible.  How could you possibly nurture more than a few true friends? Don’t you love how Facebook “cuts you off” at 5,000 friends?  Having 4,999 friends is just fine, but hey, no one can have more than 5,000 friends – that’s just nuts!
I think cell phones are incredibly cool, and that mobile technology in all of its forms has changed the world for the better. I have been selling cellular phones since 1983; it was the beginning of my business career. But I also hate the fact that thousands of people die every day, all because someone was texting while driving. The same technology that allowed me to earn a living since 1983 kills people every day.
Here is a mock-up of an airliner for the near future. We sure have come a long way since Orville Wright's first flight in 1903. Since the beginning of time, there was technology. From the first stone knives, to buggy whips to the Space Shuttle, mankind and technology have always been intertwined. If I say the word “technology” what do you see in your mind’s eye?  Probably a mental picture of an iPhone, iPad, computer, or maybe a space ship or satellite on its way to the Milky Way. I found this list (on the Internet, of course) of the greatest inventions of all time:
Water intoxication, also known as water poisoning, is a potentially fatal disturbance in brain functions that results when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside of safe limits by over hydration, i.e., over-consumption of water.
Under normal circumstances, consuming too much water is exceptionally rare. Nearly all deaths related to water intoxication in normal individuals have resulted either from water drinking contests in which individuals attempt to consume large amounts of water, or long bouts of intensive exercise during which electrolytes are not properly replenished, yet excessive amounts of fluid are still consumed.
Water, just like any other substance, can be considered a poison when over-consumed in a specific period of time. We all know that access to fresh drinking water is necessary for life. But if you drink too much of it, it can kill you.

So, here is my epiphany on this lovely Sunday morning: too much of anything is bad for you, no matter what it is. Especially when that “thing” is technology. 

I think this is the perfect place to end my blog.

Feel free however, to share any of my blogs with your friends on Facebook. Unless of course, you have reached your limit of 5,000 friends, then you better tweet it. Or, post it on Google+. Or……

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