How have changes in technology changed your life? What changes in technology have you seen? At my son’s 2012 high school graduation, the school presented a slide show of technology that had not yet been invented when the graduates were born. It boggled the mind. We so quickly adapt to changes in technology that we forget what life was like just a couple of decades ago.
Changes in technology are often the backdrop to stories, if not the stories themselves. For instance, I knew a gentleman that took particular pleasure in his car’s remote start feature. When he bought his first car, he had to pay extra for turn signals.
What you remember is obviously related to your age, but it could also have much to do with your childhood lifestyle and where you grew up. What changes in technology have been good? Which ones have been hard to keep up with? The following points can help you brainstorm about what impacted you.
Working with the 80 and up crowd, I find that the Internet and the changes in technology that have come with it aren’t as popular as it is with younger folks. They find it difficult to adapt to websites and emails. How have you embraced the Internet (or not)?
Transportation Changes in Technology
Despite the humongous changes in car safety and economy, for many, these changes have been more of a convenience than a life changer. The availability of air travel, on the other hand, has changed lives. I remember how exciting it was as a little girl to go to the ‘jetport’ to see my dad off on business trips. Now flying on business or leisure is a no-brainer, and is often no fun at all.
Telecommunications Changes in Technology
My kids probably wouldn’t recognize a dial telephone and have never had to look for a phone booth. On the other hand, my husband’s grandmother never liked to talk on the phone for very long. She worked for the phone company when long-distance calls were expensive and conversations were short. What you remember? Telegraphs? Telexes? An early cell phone that was like a huge shoulder bag?
Advances in Medicine
Not too terribly long ago, any infection could lead to death. (See An Oral History: Appendicitis in 1914.) My husband’s grandfather spent 3 years in a tuberculosis sanitarium. When he was admitted, his wife and my father in law never expected to see him alive again. Stories such as these are particularly poignant, helping us realize what we take for granted.
What “new” products came to your home during your childhood? For instance, a child of the 60’s (like me) might remember the parade of “new” Barbie dolls. We could take our Barbies back to the store to exchange them for new ones that had bendable knees or a ‘twist and turn’ waist. Non-dairy creamer, for better or worse, also made its appearance around the same time.
Home products include computers and calculators. At one time, a calculator was a major purchase. “Portable” computers were more “luggable” than “portable.” I probably wasn’t the only one that spent an ungodly amount of money on a computer with something like 400 MB of memory. (Hint: Articles like Popular Mechanic‘s “The Top 50 Inventions of the Past 50 Years” can also help trigger recall.
Entertainment and media
Other Changes in Technology
What did I forget? What do you remember? Comments please—pretty please with sugar on top!