the nicholls worth

Technological advances outpacing society

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It’s that time of year again when Americans will be lining up outside stores to buy the latest iPhone. It seems technology has crept that much further into our lives.

It’s strange to think 20 years ago, cassette tapes and floppy disks were still the preferred mode of storage. They were used for either music or whatever someone would now call computers back in the early 90’s. However, now all of a person’s technological needs are right in their pocket on one device and it begs the question if technology is truly making people’s lives that much easier?

As college students, the things we can do with our phones are limitless. Want to record a lecture? Use your smartphone. Want to read your book? Use your smartphone. Need to e-mail an instructor? Use your smartphone. Or if you want to go against the grain, use your tablet. Everything is directly at our fingertips, and it seems like as much of a hindrance as it is a benefit.

We’ve all had instructors who are against any forms of technology unless it’s bound by string, written on papyrus or chiseled into stone. With a tool that can access hundreds of thousands of documents on almost any subject in the palms of our hands, it’s difficult to rein in the desire to simply ask Siri who won the Battle of Waterloo instead of making a late night trip to the library.

Progression of technology is happening at such a rapid rate that people who refuse to adapt will get left behind within a year’s time. As soon as we learn how to use whatever is new, it’s replaced by something that does what the last version of it did plus a hundred other things.

High school students are taking notes on iPads when 10 years ago there weren’t even DVD players in every classroom. Children are growing up knowing how to navigate to their favorite apps on their parents’ smartphones, as opposed to children 14 years ago playing with their parent’s beeper.

This is in no way a slight against technology. Some young adults will have grown up with cassette players or the latest no skip Walkman while others will have never experienced VHS tapes, and that’s perfectly fine. Technological advances are both necessary and desired by those who will benefit the most from them.

In today’s society, it is almost unheard of for a 20-something year old to not know how to use all the bells and whistles on smartphones, computers and tablets. It’s not so 1984 to think that in 10 years, many children won’t know what books look like until they begin going to school, and even that may be a stretch.

The future of technology is more than bigger iPhone screens. No, we probably won’t have flying cars in our lifetime, which is probably a good thing considering how people drive when they have to worry about all four wheels staying on the road. However, we will have to change and adapt to whatever comes out or be left behind like Beta-tapes, cassettes, VHS, vinyl records and soon CDs and DVDs.

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The student newspaper of Nicholls State University
Technological advances outpacing society