Saturday, September 24, 2011

Is Technology alone enough to change our lives?

Without a doubt our lives have changed a lot over the last hundred years or so, much of these changes are the result of the technological improvements which have taken place during that time.

Along the same lines, humanity as a whole has changed as well both on a personal level and on a social level. That in mind, it seems that recently technology has been advancing so quickly that a lot of people are finding it hard to catch up and make use of the many advantages we've got available to us.

As an example, today it has become very easy for us to communicate and collaborate no matter where we are, communication is no longer restricted to voice, thanks to technology we can collaborate on a level that was previously unheard of and we can do that without having to pay an arm & a leg for it!

Thanks to that, a lot of people can do business anytime , anywhere without the need to be physically present in the same location. However, most people still choose not to utilize this.

Does this scenario sound familiar? wake-up early in the morning, spend an hour or so scrambling all over the place to get ready for work, jump into your car, get stuck in traffic for over an hour, get to work, get stuck in-front of a computer screen for 8 hours because doing otherwise means that you are not working hard enough, jump in the car again, get stuck in traffic for another hour. Finally you get back home only to realize that most of the day is now gone and you're exhausted beyond belief so you crash and wake-up the next day and what do you know, the same cycle starts all over again.

For many people, the above scenario doesn't have to be the case (at least not all the time), these days a lot of us can work from home. we can communicate, collaborate, research, develop all while still wearing pajamas!

Lets think about this for a moment shall we, on average you can get stuck in traffic for an hour each way, so that is 2 hours of your life wasted 5 days a week, lets say it costs you $50 a week to fill up your car with gas.

What if you were to work from home for two days a week? so every week you save 4 hours and $20. But wait, there is more. With your car being off the road for these two hours you have also contributed to reducing traffic AND reducing the amount of green-house gases being emitted.

Now imagine if a 1000 people in your area did the same thing as well, now what if a million people did that? you do the maths.

So, if we can utilize technology to save time, money and help the environment by working from home for a couple of days a week, why aren't a lot of people doing this? why do we still have traffic jams (which get worse every day) , why do we still waste hours upon hours of our time being stuck in a box with four wheels?

The answer is simple really, technology alone is not enough, you can have the best tech in the world but if people don't adopt it then it is as good as if it was non-existent.

Also there are other factors which contribute to our unwillingness to change:

  • We are creatures of habit, once we get used to doing things in a certain way it is hard to change.
  • It is the social norm, people are expected to drive to work, they're expected to be stuck in an office for 8 hours a day.
So what does that mean? Can we force a change? or is this how things will be forever? 

I personally think that over time more and more people will start to realize that they can do things differently, I also think that there needs to be individuals who should push for such changes, people who can act as leaders who can help the world shift its way of thinking and doing things.

I believe that technology can do wonderful things for us but by itself it is not enough to change our lives.

What are your thoughts on this?