What an interesting time to be alive, for a variety of reasons, but particularly the advances in technology. Who would have thought that 30 years ago, we would one day have the world at our fingertips. What is so obvious and commonplace now was unthinkable only a few decades ago.
I will admit that I am 26 years old, stereotypically millennial, and caught the tale end of the 1980’s in my first year of existence. But with that said, I do remember a time before the internet. I remember a time before cell phones. I remember when my father brought home his first cell phone. It was the size of a brick with a extendable antenna, and a panel to fold down to expose the enormous buttons. It was just the coolest thing.
How quickly that form of technology evolved from Zach Morris’s full sized portable phone to the versatile smartphones of today. In less than 30 years, the masses have the ability to access practically anything they wish 24/7. The smartphone has changed our very way of life, a lot of the better, and some would argue for the worse.
Now, if your car breaks down, you can simply use an app to summon a Carmel car to take you to your destination… Or call a tow truck, your call. Paper maps are almost a relic of the past. Google not only has the world mapped out, it has pictures of the very streets you seek. The amount of information available is simply astounding.
Yet, of course, there are two sides to every coin. There is such a growing dependence on the smartphone that it may be removing some of our common sense. What happens when a phone is lost, stolen, or simply dies from too much texting and Instagram? It is as if an extension of our person is gone. There is an exposure to the real world without the safety of a screen to stare at. At those moments it is easy to muse, what did people do before cell phones?
Many have become so deeply connected to their phones, that separation causes massive anxiety. People my own age and younger have a particular need for this technology. I have personally witnessed a child being held, swiping a screened device. A child can now swipe left or right before he or she can even walk. Today, childhood is surrounded by endless abilities to be plugged in, creating this dependence early in life. Not to mention a competition with a smartphone for parents’ attention.
Of course there is no going back. There is no way to return to pre-internet, pre-smartphone life, which feels so novel and easily romanticized. We can, however, look back and pity the citizens of yesteryear having to stand on the street and hail cabs, as opposed to simply opening their Carmel apps to order a car to their destination at a convenient time and price. Ooh! Ah! The simplicity! The convenience!
Still, it is important to remember that technological separation can be a good thing from time to time. Revisit those physical surrounds that are so easy ignore and forget. Upon the arrival of your Carmel car, put your phone in your bag, sit back, and gaze out the window at this amazing world.