plural noun: gadgets
a small mechanical or electronic device or tool, especially an ingenious or novel one.
Technology and gadgets are now indispensable in our daily lives. In the past few years carrying a miniature computer (a smart phone) in a pocket has become commonplace. Technology helps advance the human race forward and makes doing mundane things more efficient and repeatable. Technology has helped create the information revolution. With technological advances, devices have evolved to be so powerful and smart that it feels like having a super-computer on one’s hands. Humans now have an insatiable appetite for information at their fingertips. When technology makes this happen, the natural tendency is for this to become an expectation. When was the last time you printed a map or wrote a snail mail letter? If you did, then you belong to the elite endangered cadre of humans who are vanishing rapidly. Welcome to the information age! Before we frame our problem, we would like to ponder briefly over how our lives have changed with gadgets, compared to pre-digital era.
Life Without Gadgets
People born before the 1980’s would very well relate to life before the information age, when people had no access to internet or personal gadgets. Let’s briefly walk down the memory lane to relive those moments — a life without gadgets.
Children played together outdoor — they had a lot of physical activity.
People talked to each other more often, and verbal communication faceface was at its peak.
Chat jargon did not exist and people knew their spellings well, as they
read more books.
People enjoyed spending more time outdoors with family and friends.
It was commonplace to get the news from newspaper or radio.
Entertainment came from playing board games, playing sports, going to
the movies, watching VHS tapes, etc.
Writers often used either a type-writer or a word processor on their
Computers were expensive and bulky.
Doing research was hard; frequent visits to the library or scouring through
plethora of papers, books, etc. were necessary.
Communication was slow.
Life With Gadgets
Gadgets equipped with internet have transformed our lives in several ways and brought about a paradigm shift in our dependence on technology to perform key tasks in our everyday routine. To highlight a few:
· Enormous amount of information at our fingertips
· Use Google Maps to get directions, watch YouTube videos to learn to cook, sing, draw, learn science, etc.
· Health monitoring apps on the cell phone that would remind people to walk, run, bike, check BP periodically, etc.
· Capability to share daily life or special events instantly with thousands of people and see reaction in a matter of minutes, if not seconds
· Expedited research with access to information galore
· Ability to watch videos on demand from anywhere (Netflix, Amazon, etc.)
· Ability to read e-books online on demand — no more visits to library needed
· Use of mobile phones, tablets as pacifiers for kids
· Improved speed of communication by orders of magnitude leading to faster decision-making
· Existence of mobile apps for entertainment, social interaction through digital media, paying bills, accessing bank accounts, etc. (virtually for any purpose)
It would be arguably safe to say that some gadgets have empowered us to Be Free!
In this series, our focus is mainly at gadgets that have/can improve the way we live!
Gadgets Series: Be Free-I