As 2016 draw close to the end, one can sit down and reflect how they have used technology and the impact technology has played in their lives throughout 2016. Moreover, we can reflect on the disruptive nature of technology and the role it has played in improving our lives for the better and human development in general. In this article, we review some of the technologies that had a huge impact in making our lives easier in 2016.
If you believe in science and evolution, think about the evolution of man from primitive caveman throughout the stone age using tools of their time to make their lives easier. And now millions of years later, we have risen from apes as per the theory of Charles Darwin to apps.
Imagine the days before the Internet, tablets and smartphones, when you needed to wait for months for mail to be delivered across the Atlantic to communicate. And needed to physically travel to a Paris to experience the city of love. Thanks to technology, one can instantly communicate with a loved one across the Atlantic and can use virtual reality (AR) to walk on streets of Paris without flying to Paris or physically being there.
If you are a researcher, imagine the time traditionally spent in the library searching for books and journals. Today, it’s no longer necessary to spend dozens of hours in the library because with the notion of always-on, we are always connected and we can access diverse resources from academic journals, conference papers to books. All in your comfort zone and at your own leisure.
Many of the technological advancements we see today, are not necessarily offering new things but introducing ways of doing things better. And at the centre of this new approaches is customer experience and convenience. One practical example we can look at is Uber, before Uber there has always been meter taxis services such as dial a cab and alike. But the problem with dial a cab is that I don’t know who the driver is and the high cost per trip.
Although Uber offers transportation service like the meter taxi, it also offers users convenience, allowing users to choose the type of car they would like to ride in from cheaper to high end vehicles. Moreover, all Uber drivers are known and should something happened to you during your trip, Uber can find the driver and hold him accountable. The cost for an Uber is also relatively cheaper compared to the cost of meter taxi.
Traditionally, travelling has always been expensive, which is attributed to the high cost of accommodation hotels. The high cost of hotels made travelling unaffordable for many. Because nature doesn’t allow for any vacuum, new innovative solutions such as Airbnb emerged, providing cheaper travellers with cheaper accommodation, convenience and amazing local experiences.
One interesting fact about Uber and Airbnb is that they do not own the vehicles neither the accommodation but provide solutions that connect riders with car owners and travellers with apartment or house owners. This type of model helps locals benefit from tourism and local economy.
It’s not only about leisure, imagine how life at work will be without a computer or software that enables you to do your work faster. Today, technology also enable us to be able to work from home, thus giving us the opportunity to spend more time with our families and loved ones.
Technology is not without challenges; critics believe that though technology brings us efficiency, productivity and self-reliance. It does so at a cost, which many a times imply that we get immersed into technology, forcing us to give up our Ubuntu and sense of belonging. Additionally, the emerging of smart devices such as smartphones, which are always connected also infringes our privacy as they always collect information pertaining to our locations, allowing people to locate where we are.
Like spears where during stone age, technology has inevitably become the de facto tool of the modern era, alluding us to the convenience like none we haven’t seen before, making our lives easier and better. Therefore, it’s high time that we embrace technology in every aspect of our lives.
Lameck Mbangula Amugongo is country Ambassador of 1 Billion Africa in Namibia. He holds B.IT: Software Engineering, B.Hons: Software Development (Cum Laude) and currently pursuing MSc. Computer Science.