I was reminded today that living in the computer age has numbed us to the everyday marvels of what we are able to accomplish. While Facebook, Twitter, and who knows what’s next pushes the envelope on how we communicate and interact with each other, the technology of yesterday is shrugged off as if it is meaningless. I was reminded today when an individual lamented that it costs $40 to wire money from their bank account to a very distant third world country where the average working person makes $6 per day. The observation was well intended. But what it said about the value of technology was more powerful to me than the fact that $40 would pay this third world person’s wages for almost 7 days.
Think, if you will, about the fact that by utilizing Wired Funds Transfer technology (which has been around for decades) we can actually take money that we have earned, walk into our local bank, provide a few numbers, and a day or two later a person half way around the world will have the resources to buy food, get medical attention, and make an impact on a whole community. This sure beats putting a bunch of gold in a locked box and floating it there with the hopes that it finds its way without sinking into the abyss. Instead we safely and quickly transfer money all over the globe without a second thought. We’re less than impressed with the technology. We’re not impressed because we’ve forgotten how much work and risk used to be involved.
I find this to be true with many technological advances. We Google things, no longer astonished at how fast we end up with 40,000 relatively close results, but with a bit of frustration that the exact web page we were hoping to find didn’t appear in the top 3. We get frustrated when the video we want to watch on Facebook takes 30 seconds to load (that is actually really frustrating now that I think about it). But the most important thing we forget is that, relatively speaking, for what we get out of the internet we really don’t pay squat. $35-$50 maybe for the internet connection? And then we complain about being bombarded by advertisements on some of our favorite sites.
So the next time you look at your favorite website, take a minute to really take it all in. Look at the intricate details of how the site is laid out. Notice how many different features you have available to you to consume entertainment or information. And if this article has nudged you emotionally in any way, click on an ad or two 🙂