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Friday, September 29, 2006

Technology

Some of us may have fond memories about how easy life was before the Internet, mobile phones and fax machines. Life after five were truly 'after work'. Once out of the office, it will be hard to contact you. Life was much slower, less efficient and less anxious. Some may even say that family lives were fuller and happier.
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So does technology give us a better quality of life?
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I am a technologist true and true. I am trained as a civil engineer and an information security specialist, and have lived and worked in 16 cities across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia as a technologist for many years. I am always fascinated by what technology brings. Overall, I think technology have given me a better life, as I have been careful about handling and using them to my advantage. Without technology, I won't be able to pen (or key) my thoughts in like this and share them with, not only my friends, but the world!
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I use technology for what they are good for. For instance, I let my washing machine do my laundry, my toaster for my toasts and my robot vaccum my floor. All these chores done while I spend my time fulfiling more creative tasks. My robot will go through every square inch of the floor bouncing off walls and obstacles and will stop once it is finished. If I had bought the advanced model, it will even go back and park at the power recharging device and recharge itself. Once recharged, it will wait for its programmed schedule to get off and start vacuuming the room again! Isn't it cool?!!!
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I am writing this posting from the Middle East, where I am on a consultancy assignment with my client. Whilst here, I chat with my friends on webcam, book my air tickets online, check my payments online, and communicate with my clients by emails, instant messaging and sms. In July, whilst here, I even organised a seminar in Singapore and have the surplus of the seminar fees used to help orphanages in Cambodia! All this would not be possible without technology.
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My opinion is that technology will continue to make our lives better, just as long as we know their limitations. There are situations where human face-to-face contacts are important. For instance, many of us still like to have meals physically together with our friends, family and loved ones. It will be different gobbling down the food with someone else thousands of miles away connected by webcam. The human touch is still important and it is the failure to realise this that led friendships, relationships and marriages to falter. There are even of couples proposing for marriages by sms and ironically divorcing also via smses. Often I have observed people in clubs, pubs and cafes sitting around tables not talking to one another, but busying themselves with sending smses to somebody somewhere else, ignoring the persons physically in front of them entirely. :) It does look surreal, but sadly, this seems to be gettng more and more common. I think it is this haphazardness of not living in the present that anxiety sets in, and anxiety is not conducive to build trust. Without trust we don't have relationships.
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When I was a kid, businesses were conducted purely based on trust. Just a phone call for an order and the goods will be delivered, without purchase orders or even receipts. Just cash-on-delivery. That was how my father did his business. One's word was one's honour. It was well known those days that unless one develops a good reputation for reliability and trustworthiness, there will be no business. Perhaps people in that era had more time to develop those relationships and the motivations to keep them, or were they more worldly wise not distracted by the speed, intensity and scale that modern technology brings?
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So amid the humdrum of the modern world and urban living, it would be wise to remind ourselves to return back to basic human values and then to our spiritual selves regularly. Dr Aaron had suggested to me once that I should wake up in the morning and remind myself to love myself and to love others. It is a sweet thought to start the day with and one that has brought me many beautiful days. After all love flows and technology in the end is only an aid.

2 comments:

jupilier said...

Nattie

Sorry, I have inadvertently deleted your comment.

michael

jupilier said...

Don't be shy! Leave a comment! :)
michael