I'm not exactly what you would call a "technology geek." Mostly because I kind of have a love/hate relationship with technology. I love to hate it. Ha. Just kidding (sort of). I think I'm just a late adopter of technology. Unlike one of my friends who pre-orders every new technological invention out there, I only broke down and bought a smart phone less than two years ago. And while I think it's pretty cool to check your email or get on social media via your phone, I have to admit I don't use it that way very often. I'm more of a laptop girl.
Maybe it's my age. I didn't grow up with technology like this. I am a part of Gen X, and we had three television channels growing up (and no remote), no computers, etc. You get the idea. So, convincing me that my life will be better or easier if I adopt some sort of new technology is kind of difficult sometimes. But sometimes it also sounds intriguing and I want to give it a try.
When the movie "Her" came out, I have to admit that I was simultaneously fascinated and horrified by it (and amused!). If you haven't seen it, it's a movie set in the future. The main character falls in love with his computer operating system (think Siri). Keep in mind, this operating system is just a computerized voice that can hold a conversation with him. That's it. But nonetheless, he falls in love with it.
The reason that's amusing to me is because it seems preposterous, right?! I mean, who falls in love with a computerized voice? But the horrifying part is this: I think it could happen in the future (not to me, but maybe to my grandchildren's generation).
However, I have to admit that I am fascinated by new inventions that are either still being perfected or are already here (but haven't made it into the mainstream yet). Not all of them horrify me like the premise of that movie. So I did research about some things that are coming (or here and getting more popular).
Here are a select few:
1. Digital Health Care.
I'm not even sure I can wrap my mind around digital health care, but it sounds fascinating. Health care is moving toward a day when our health information will be shared in real time with our doctors. For example, sensors will be embedded on the skin or ingested in order to wirelessly report back our vital signs 24 hours a day. It will give information about how well someone's body is responding to a medication or a therapy. Because of this, patients won't have to endure the blood tests, x-rays, or biopsies to see if a drug is working. This will be especially important for people who require constant monitoring, such as someone with diabetes. Sounds pretty cool to me.
2. Wearable Technology
Even though I'm still getting used to using a smart phone, it looks that in the relatively near future that most people will be wearing their technology. Gone will be the days of losing your phone or forgetting it at home. Something like checking your emails or the status of your health will be done with a flick of your wrist. Many people already have the Fitbits, but smart watches and Google glasses are on the mainstream horizon as well. Sometimes it takes the public some time to adjust to these types of changes, but I'm sure that there will be a day when we are all literally attached to our technology.
3. Online Education
I have been an educator for over 20 years, and I have seen a lot of changes. The one that is the most life-changing for all of us (teachers and students) is online education. This trend is not necessarily "new" but it's becoming increasingly more popular. For a long time, I resisted it. Because as a communication professor, I wanted to be the classroom so I could actually interact with my students face-to-face. But last summer, I had my classes canceled for low enrollment. Luckily, they let me offer online classes instead - and they all filled up quickly. While I am still not a fan of online education, it certainly is more convenient for people who have busy lives.
If you're middle aged, you probably remember the cartoon, The Jetsons. And if you do, that's what you might think of when you hear the word "robot." And I think having a robot do things for you would be more than a dream come true for the everyday person! Apparently, that's not science fiction anymore. Sure, the average person doesn't have a robot servant, but it's not too far off. They have already created robots to replace people in certain jobs. I sure wouldn't mind having a robot massage therapist on call whenever I want!
5. Smart Home Gadgets.
A couple of years ago, I got a water bill for $2,400. Yes, you read that right - $2,400! Imagine feeling like you were just kicked in the stomach. Yep, that was me. And to make it worse, about a year later, I got another huge bill for $1,600. While we never really figured out what caused the problem, if I had certain smart home gadgets that are coming on the market, I could have saved money on my water bill. My smart phone could have monitored my leakage in real time. And I would have been a much happier camper! These days, the kind of gadgets you can get to make your house "smart" are remarkable.
These are just a few of the new inventions that I came across that could very well be a part of our future very soon. There are, of course, many more. But some of this stuff is pretty exciting. Imagine how different our lives will be in 10 or 20 years!