Chances are, you don’t think twice when using a key card to open your hotel room door. Yet not long ago, we were handed an actual metal key with a room number stamped on it to get into our rooms. We had to carry the key around and keep track of it along with the rest of our keys. And now it seems that soon those annoying key cards that are so easy to misplace will be replaced by a simple app that we will have on our phones. At this point, over a million hotels already have this technology available as an option, and it’s only a matter of time before those little, environmentally unfriendly plastic cards become obsolete—like metal hotel keys.
This is just one way we use technology in our everyday lives without giving much thought to the speed with which it’s advancing. In fact, some amazing steps forward have been made in technologies, and we are fast adapting to the convenience of having these advances at our fingertips.
The fairly recent technology advancement that we probably use most in our daily lives, with barely a second thought, is internet information searches. In the not-so-distant past, when a question came to mind, we had to find an encyclopedia, go to a library, or seek out an expert. Now, with a swipe, a touch of a button, or even a question spoken aloud, we have an instant answer.
If you are old enough, you might remember citing sources at the end of a school report with a list of library books and encyclopedia pages. In today’s world, citing sources is as easy as sharing a link.
With instant access to information, not only has our personal lives changed, but also our business lives, along with vast changes in the world of education.
Superfluity of Screens
Screens are everywhere. In fact, it’s highly likely that you can look up from the one you are looking at now and see several others in your vicinity. Before the 1990s, not many people had more than a television screen in their home, and today we are inundated with televisions, computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. We can be simultaneously be binge-watching a series while scrolling through social media.
In today’s world, we are rarely alone with our thoughts. Instead a constant influx of information is available, at our fingertips, in our ears, and in front of our eyes at all times.
In Touch With Tech
Thanks to technology today, families and friends stay in touch in ways that they never could have in the past. Family members can connect with relatives they’ve lost touch with or never really knew at all. Thanks to social media, we can even follow the details of the daily lives of far-away friends and family, and interact with them in many small ways on a daily basis. We can keep ongoing conversations with loved ones through text messages throughout our busy days. We can check in at home with technologies such as nanny cams, security cameras, and even phone apps that connect to video baby monitors at home or daycare so we can see our toddlers napping or playing while we are at work.
Technology has helped us to stay in touch in ways that weren’t possible in the past.
Interestingly, when the first texting features were added to cell phones, they were an afterthought. Manufacturers didn’t think text capability would be a popular feature at all. Why spell out conversations when you can talk into the phone? But to their surprise, texting had a way of bringing people together more than phone conversations, and the popularity of texting quickly exploded, eventually changing the fabric of our daily lives. This has included major changes in our language itself, with abbreviated words and phrases now in common usage.
Life-Changing Technologies in Our Homes
The population demographics of places such as Florida has changed in the past century due to the basics of home technologies that most of us rarely notice. Can you imagine what life was like in hot climates before refrigeration technology? If all power was lost and we no longer had air conditioning to cool our homes and offices, and no refrigerators to keep our food fresh and our drinks cold, the population of places such as Florida would change in a hurry.
These technologies themselves are changing and advancing quickly. You can now adjust the temperature of your home remotely. If an unexpected cold snap occurs in the middle of the work day, you can turn on the heat in your home an hour before your expected arrival through an app on your phone. Smart refrigerators are now available that can tell you when you are out of milk or if the refrigerator door has been left open.
New tools and technologies in our healthcare system and fields of medicine have also changed our everyday lives in a big way, including helping our lives to last longer and for us to enjoy health and vitality for more years than our ancestors did.
Technologies have opened up research and made investigative processes much faster. Every aspect of patient care has improved through new technologies such as electronic medical records.
Medical technologies have even come into our homes. Expectant moms can listen to their baby’s heartbeat through at-home fetal heart monitors, which can easily be purchased online and shipped to their homes. This can be a source of comfort for women who’ve experienced pregnancy loss, and an important safeguard for high-risk pregnancies.
As our technologies have advanced, so has our awareness of the importance of healthy diets and exercise. We are now more in touch with our bodies than ever, and can use devices to measure our total daily steps. We can use some of the best heart rate monitors on armbands and chest straps to track important changes in heart rate during exercise.
With advances in child care tools, such as great new jogging strollers, even new moms can get out of the house and stay fit, while babies or toddlers can be stimulated by the outdoor environment at the same time.
Where Technology is Taking Us
There are many predictions about where technology will take us. We may finally be seeing the beginnings of the self-driving cars that were predicted long ago, and one day we may be looking at today’s cars the same way we now view the horse-drawn carriages of the past. In fact, even technology that seems advanced today may one day be looked at the way we now look at big clunky VCRs and videotapes, which were remarkable technologies not too long ago.
Those screens that are currently all around us may soon appear as vintage items since thin, flexible OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diodes) appear to be the screens we can expect to see in popular use in the near future.
Of course, it’s possible that we can’t accurately predict every technological trend coming in our future or the changes that will come with it, just as no one predicted texting would change the world of communication. But we can enjoy the anticipation of waiting to see.