There is an ongoing misconception that technology is for the business-oriented and agile individual. Now I can understand why this notion is wide spread but unfortunately, it is so very wrong. Yes, you can now receive emails on the move, teleconference with people from all parts of the globe and so on. But the truth of the matter is that the primary reason for developing these conveniences is because some very important higher ups couldn’t be bothered to turn on their computer to check their emails or travel thousands of miles to say a few words to people that – a) they don’t know and; b) probably don’t really care much for beyond their productivity.
I know what you are thinking. “He’s just saying this to provoke debate and yada yada yada” and you know what… you’re right. But my argument does have some merit. Look at the remote control, this is the fourth greatest invention by mankind (I’ll fill you in on the top three later) and you just know that the inventor was thinking to himself “Oh God, this show is rubbish, must change channel but can’t reach tv. Oh if only there was a way to do this without the tedious getting up part” and the rest is history.
My second gadget is the Microwave. Another ingenious appliance that was designed by someone (I’m guessing a guy), who felt that cooking was just a few steps down from planning a space mission. Why worry about getting the right cooking utensils, ingredients, and all that measuring and timing? Just push one or two buttons; wait a few minutes and dinner is served.
The mobile phone. I can make my case with this device alone. Once upon a time not too long ago, humans invented the telephone. Now this has made a lot of people very happy and been widely regarded as a good move. People could talk to each other across great distances and lie about the state of their lives or what they were doing without worrying about body language and other tell tale signs (incidentally this is one of the reasons video calling has not taken off yet). Then people started to get grumpy as they began to realise that the phone had strikingly similar problems to the tv i.e. they had to get up to use it or go into a booth if they were outside. This led to the development of the cordless phone and eventually our modern day mobile. Now as if this evolution wasn’t proof enough of our inherent laziness, the people began to wonder if they could make other stuff mobile, or better yet, make them mobile and then cram it into their phone while they were at it.
The result of all this wondering is that today your mobile phone can do everything short of bathing and sleeping with you. A lot of us are now so attached to them that in life or death situations, some might save their phone before other people. I am not saying that I’m one of them but I will have to consider if the person has been good or naughty first.
Before I sum up, I would like to give a honourable mention to some gadgets/tools that could have strengthened my case even further if this was a dissertation. The car (in fact all forms or transport from the horse to the aeroplane) because everything beats walking; the calculator for making maths slightly tolerable; the digital watch; shoes without laces; clip-on tie (for obvious reasons); and many others.
I will conclude this entry with a quote from the author Robert Heinlein for two reasons. 1) Because I obviously can’t be bothered to think of a better one and; 2) It sums up my sentiments about technology perfectly with regards to progress.
“Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.”