Sometimes I wonder how we existed as a race prior to the invention of some modern conveniences.
Life must have been such a horribly contrived inconvenience without a telephone in our pocket. How did we manage to survive before we had a microwave oven to cook meals in minutes? How did we ever meet anyone before the Internet served its purpose and matched people based on their preferences in life? Click on "slim, loves to travel and doesn't smoke" and you'll find your perfect mate. What a concept, yet people still fight, argue and separate. How is that possible with such highly advanced mating techniques?
The recent allegations over Alex Rodriguez and his steroid abuse make me think about whether or not athletes were so much better before they took drugs? My immediate response is "no, they are not." So, why do they use drugs? The technology is available, so they use it, but pro sports struggles to catch up to legislate against something that may or may not be producing better performers.
Are weather forecasts better now than they were in the 1960s? We just experienced one of the bigger snowstorms of the past few years and every one of the local TV weather forecasts missed it, so much so that one of them went on the next night and apologized for his inaccuracy. They all have some form of futuristic Doppeler gizmo and an advanced computer modeling system, yet still none of them knew we were headed for a six inch snowfall. The next day, all of them were able to explain why they were wrong, but none of them knew enough to forecast it. If I were making out next year's budget, I'd ask what the point was in spending so much money over something that didn't offer any results.
Is music any better now than it was before digital sampling and CDs? Every time I spend $90 for a concert ticket, I stop and think that I used to spend $6 and it is essentially the same experience. A big stage, big speakers and a hall full of people. Not everything costs 15 times more now than it did in 1979, but concert tickets do. Are we getting our money's worth or are they taking advantage of us?
Every new piece of technology challenges the people who make laws to legislate and control it. We can't drive and talk on our cell phones. Cable television has to include safeguards over content. Children have to be controlled on the Internet. Now, I'm seeing stories about kids texting sex-talk and sending naked photos of themselves to each other on their cell phones. The technology is moving faster than our ability to control it.
All of it is designed to somehow make our lives better, but does it really? Are we essentially happier now than we were twenty years ago? I don't think I am, and I come from the time of pinball machines, six-channel television and instruments with dials. We carry more personal debt than any generation before us, and much of it is due to cable television, cell phones and other such conveniences that we didn't pay for 20 years ago.
I think that mostly, what technology does for us is open up ways for us to be abused and otherwise complicate our lives, which include more and costlier ways to exist.
Is that an improvement?