COPERNICUS was perhaps the first scientist to discover that Earth revolves around the sun, but he never had the opportunity to proclaim that it also revolves around technology. Anyone can say that today. You don’t have to be a scientist or an astronomer.
Truly, technology has permeated every part of our lives. Let’s visit our home for starters. Look at all the appliances from the washing machine to the refrigerator, the rice cooker and the food processor, the microwave and the oven, and the dishwasher, just to name a few. Imagine if any of these appliances broke down, our lives would come to an edgy standstill, if not a state of unproductive inconvenience.
The moment we wake up to a new day, technology stares us in the face. How many of us pick up our phones first thing in the morning? What messages are there? Email, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat. The day is already busy with the noise of technology blasting away. In quick finger taps and scrolls, we’re connected to the world, our friends, business associates, colleagues, everyone.
And there you are, reading your messages, and picking up your electronic toothbrush only to find that you’ve forgotten to let it charge overnight. There goes your super efficient morning dental regime, and you’re left settling with a less satisfying brush going manual.
Technology is so much a part of lives that we almost take it for granted. Feel like getting a hit of Taylor Swift at the end of a stressful school day, just go to Spotify and you can hear Swift going, “Why you gotta be so mean?” You can do the same on Apple Music, all this thanks to Cloud technology where these music providers store such an amazing museum of the world’s music and sell them on a rental basis to users.
So while you’re scrolling the touchscreen for yet another song, suddenly something catches your eye and it’s photo time. You snap, then it goes into your photo library or it gets sent right there and then to a friend over WhatsApp. The phone camera has also lightened the bag-load of textbooks students have to lug to school. Just snap the excerpts from pages you need to refer to, and don’t fret about bringing the entire textbook along with you, whether it’s back home or to school.
As far as school goes, technology has enhanced the life of teachers and students so much that it would be inconceivable without it. What was once considered a luxury is now a necessity. Teachers use Padlet and Google Docs, a platform upon which students can participate in discussions and edit documents. These are tools that make home-based learning possible, so that study groups can still engage in meaningful and productive discussion from their own homes. Even coordinating study group meetings is so much easier just by setting up a group on WhatsApp. Surely, a capability like this would be considered a figment of imagination as recent as a decade ago.
Beyond the home and the school, technology ticks faithfully everywhere. In the subway and buses, all we need to do is swipe and board. This cashless system has been around for a long time now, but imagine if we reverted to the good old days of bills and coins and tickets.
In the supermarkets, we have the “Scan2Go” shopping experience at NTUC (you scan your own items as you shop to expedite the check-out process); and at Cold Storage and Giant, there are self-checkout stations. The same applies in libraries. No more library cards and the feisty stamp and chop of the due date on a slip of paper glued to the inside back cover of the book. Talk about ancient!
For all that technology can do for us today, expect that it can do even more in the future. Life’s great with technology. There’s no turning back.
Denise Yang, Secondary Four
Also by Denise: A Toast to Sports
This essay was written in response to the question:
How has technology improved the quality of life? Discuss.