An article in the New York Times brought home to me the ever increasing pace of new technology.  Of course technology is only a tool.  It’s how we use these tools that determines whether they help make the world a better, or worse, place.

The telephone was invented in the 1880’s.  It took until the 1920’s before there was a nation wide network system in America.

The first televisions were built in the 1920’s.  It wasn’t until the 1950’s that TV replaced radio was America’s primary nighttime entertainment medium.

Now, in just a few years, we have gone from Instant Messages on our PC’s, to text messaging on our cellphones, and video chats on our iPhones.

Questions:

If it was possible, which I doubt, should we try to slow down the pace of our use of new technology?

What new gadget, or technology, would you like to see developed?

From the article in Saturday’s NYT, by Brad Stone:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/weekinreview/10stone.html?ref=global-home

The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s

“My 2-year-old daughter surprised me recently with two words: “Daddy’s book.” She was holding my Kindle electronic reader.

Here is a child only beginning to talk, revealing that the seeds of the next generation gap have already been planted. She has identified the Kindle as a substitute for words printed on physical pages. I own the device and am still not completely sold on the idea.

My daughter’s worldview and life will be shaped in very deliberate ways by technologies like the Kindle and the new magical high-tech gadgets coming out this year — Google’s Nexus One phone and Apple’s impending tablet among them. She’ll know nothing other than a world with digital books, Skype video chats with faraway relatives, and toddler-friendly video games on the iPhone. She’ll see the world a lot differently from her parents.

But these are also technology tools that children even 10 years older did not grow up with, and I’ve begun to think that my daughter’s generation will also be utterly unlike those that preceded it.

Researchers are exploring this notion too. They theorize that the ever-accelerating pace of technological change may be minting a series of mini-generation gaps, with each group of children uniquely influenced by the tech tools available in their formative stages of development.

“People two, three or four years apart are having completely different experiences with technology,” said Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Research Center’s “Internet and American Life Project. “College students scratch their heads at what their high school siblings are doing, and they scratch their heads at their younger siblings. It has sped up generational differences.”

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