MY TRYST WITH TECHNOLOGY

By Ita D’Souza

With COVID-19 lock down, I find that the age of technology has suddenly come upon us. Some of us resisted the charge of the Binary brigade but now it seems to have gusted our resistance away by its arsenal of weapons. Here is MY TRYST WITH TECHNOLOGY.

In my school days in the late seventies when maths problems bulldozed us, we wondered where we could place an order to Charles Babbage for his adding machine. In the eighties when reading the popular magazine ‘Readers Digest’ I came across one article which delved into the email. It described how everyone in the world could have a unique mail id and how the mail would be delivered directly into this inbox. It seemed like an Alice in wonderland movement. Wild imagination at work. But today emails are so much a part of our lives. The postman and the post boxes have all but disappeared. Today forget convenience I have come to dislike instant responses to instant mails.

In my final year at College we were introduced to the subject ‘Computers’ as a bold new step forward by the Mathematics Syllabus Committee. We learnt about the parts of a computer and the entire BASIC and COBOL programming without actually coming face to face with the computer. The problem was soon rectified by a visit to the nearby National Institute which had recently acquired a model. My first view of the computer was of a square box with a lot of wires placed in a glass enclosed room. It could be viewed through a small window- much like the modern-day ICU.

As I progressed into the nineties, I came across the world wide web at IISc Bangalore. For a small fee, the library service would run a reference search for a particular keyword and mail the one page result every month. And since then the world of computers has continuously expanded much like the BIG Bang.

My first PC was slow and the internet slower. You could get dinner started, and finish a puzzle before you connected to the net. And forget watching a movie online – it would take the entire night to download and one telephone call could undo this entire process.

Today I can proudly say that I have grown along with the computer. It has now taken over our lives I refer to it as the silent computer invasion. It seems patronizing to have to prove to a computer ‘I am not a robot’. I wonder about the purpose of smart and crazy inventions. For example, the Numi intelligent toilet by Kohler and sneakers by Nike. Imagine not being able to lace your shoes as they have got an update!

The announcement of an instant lock down has suddenly metamorphosed us into computer geeks. Overnight we learned to Google Meet and Zoom with our students. Just as one has to learn swimming, we have been plunged into digital waters. Our vocabulary has undergone a sea change by attending webinars and podcasts. We Geo-tag photos, stream music, post videos to garner likes and comments. A world where one befriends people never met and conversation is a series of smileys and emoji’s.

It is important I feel for the Generation X, a generation which bridges the old and the new to embrace some amount of technology and keep up with the times. It is definitely better to shop online rather than make your feet ache visiting different shops. You can occasionally order food when you want to have a small celebration or are just not in the mood to cook. You can also travel by an Ola rather than catch a bus and entertain yourselves by Amazon Prime or Netflix. On one hand a sense of accomplishment fills me on learning to match my steps with the computer world and at other times nostalgia for the times gone by. But it makes me wonder could we have survived the COVID-19 lock down without the digital world.