[content_protector password=”gumboot15″]I find it very hard to get excited by technology.
Once upon a time a watch was what you used for working out how long you’d got left of the dull lesson you were sitting in, or how long until bedtime. A telephone was what you used for talking to someone who lived in a different house from you. A computer was given a special place in the house and had a silly number of wires attaching it to a printer, the power supply and – in pre-wi-fi days – the telephone line. And a tablet was something that the doctor told you to take if you weren’t feeling too well.
Now it’s all getting a little bit too complicated and I can’t quite keep up.
When the Apollo 11 mission landed on the moon in July 1969, it had a computer in it that’s less powerful than the computer in your washing machine at home.
So, if you can fly to the moon and land on it and come all the way safely back again with a washing machine, then why on earth do you need a watch that can do all your computing for you?
In the last couple of weeks, the computer giant Apple have launched their watch. According to the blurb on their website, you can not only keep accurate time on it but also take messages, keep in contact with your social media friends – all whilst you’re keeping fit and measuring your heartbeat.
Now, this is what worries me: I’m not worried by the fact that technology is becoming smaller and can do more than one task at the same time (when I was a boy, playing with my brother, I ran around pretending I could talk into my watch like a secret agent or some futuristic space warrior)…
No, I’m worried about two things. Firstly, the fact that now it’s been done – and Apple aren’t the first, other companies have brought out smart watches – is that everyone now must have one. And secondly, because it’s small, and electronic and can measure heartbeats and take messages and so on, and you can wear it, it somehow makes the fact the humans and machines are coming just that little bit closer together. The fact you can wear the internet is worrying. (And, if you’ve got the money, there’s even an 18k gold, $10, 000 version.)
Apple’s watch is a great example of what we can do with technology, but I think I’ll just stick to my analogue watch, my good old-fashioned laptop, and my washing machine that can fly me to the moon.
[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:[/colored_box]
[colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Have technological advances come too far? Do we really need a smart watch?
2. Do people always have a mistrust of new things?
3. Do you think that there will come a point where human and machines begin to overlap?
[colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:
1. Design a new product that combines two or three different functions – a watch that you can surf the internet on; a fridge that you can watch tv on, for example. Who do you imagine your new product would be for? How would it be advantageous? How would it save time or make life easier?
2. Technology is always getting faster, cheaper and smaller. What, or where, do you think – or predict – the next big technological break-throughs will be?
[colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say:
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