I recently returned to my position at the Wayne Public Library after a three week hiatus. I ended up in the hospital for an emergency gallbladder removal. Throughout my recovery (as I couldn’t do much else), I observed many different types of technology in our world today at work and I honestly marveled at how far we have come in such a short amount of time. Not only has technology caught up with us, but in some ways it is surpassing us and developing at an insanely rapid pace to a point that some of the world’s population cannot keep up.
Here’s a perfect example. A hundred years ago, if a doctor told a patient, “I am going to put you to sleep and remove an organ from your body that I believe is useless,” the patient would have ran for the hills. This wasn’t the case with me nearly a month ago. I was told that my gallbladder was full of stones, which was causing tremendous pain, and by removing this infected organ, I would be able to recover with a better standard of health. While I did have the jitters as the doctors were preparing to put me under for the procedure, I was confident that all would go well and I would wake up with a better bill of health. Three weeks later, this has been the case. I am back to work, healed, and pain free.
From diagnosing my gallbladder, to performing the surgery, to the instruments used during the surgery, to the medications used during recovery, all of this has developed more in the last hundred years than ever before. And this is just in the field of medicine.
What about some of the gadgets we use on a daily basis? A hundred years ago, computers didn’t even exist. When they were first invented, they took up the space of an entire building. Now we carry them in our pocket on a daily basis in the form of a cell phone. There is more developed technology on a typical smartphone today than what was available to the astronauts of the Apollo missions. More technology exists in our hands than the Voyager 1 satellite, which now floats in interstellar space.
We now have machines in our homes that clean and dry our dishes and clothes for us. We can view events from the other side of the globe live on our television screens, even though we are thousands upon thousands of miles away. Paper messaging is nearly obsolete as messages, texts, and literature are sent and viewed via email and tablet reading devices. We have even broken the barrier of sound.
And yet, there are few of us that are astounded by these facts! Am I getting old as I’m fascinated by what I see develop around me while my daughter wonders what the big deal is? Perhaps. But the fact remains that there are still a number of us who do not realize what this means.
What does it mean exactly? It means that we, as a people, have a responsibility to be vigilant with that technology and use it properly. For those who don’t know how to, there are ways to learn at little to no cost to the user. Books are written every few months about programs and applications and how to get the most out of them. Classes and programs are available at local libraries for patrons to bone up on their skills with using computers and the internet. There are even simple tutorials online showing viewers how to take care of certain tasks, from beginners crochet to repairing household fixtures.
In short, we have come to a point where technology even teaches you how to use technology in today’s world. And to have done so in such a short span of time is an amazing thing!
*Please note that this entry appeared as an essay on the blog for the Wayne Public Library. Adrianne Schinkai is the essay’s author and it has been cross-posted with permission. Thank you.