Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Technical development

After I read (and watched) Elisabeth's post about Jack Bauer in 1994, I realized that the whole thing works the other way around as well. "24" would not have worked out like that in 1994 and a lot of the stories I read and watched as a child would not work out the same way today.

Information is traded much more easily today; the internet with the many sites, with email and chat-rooms and forums has changed the way we treat and gather information a lot.

As I read a lot of books about junior detectives when I was a kid myself, there was a lot of information-gathering in them. But while they had to resort to local research in newspaper archives, libraries or by talking to people, they would have a whole new host of possibilities right now. (And I don't want to imagine what Sherlock Holmes would have been able to deduce with means like those at his disposal ... although it's an interesting idea - I should file it away for now.)

Most of the stories I read (save for "Sherlock Holmes", of course) were set in the times I was living in, so the kids featuring in them were more or less living like I did (apart from having adventures, of course).

This made me think about the technical development of the last twenty or so years. That covers the time it took for the internet to become a well-used and much-frequented medium (opposite to the scientists' network it was in the beginning). That covers the time it took for cell phones to become a normal means of communication. The computer became an everyday thing, too, during that time.

I guess you could spent millennia discussing whether we need all those technical means, but then, theoretically, we could still live in cages, wear animal skin and eat our meat raw - and who wants to, seriously? They are here and they are used. It's up to us to use them sensibly.

10 years ago I didn't have a cell phone (and currently I've only got my third model, but then, I'm using a prepaid phone). 10 years ago computer games didn't look realistic enough to scare anybody. 10 years ago DVD was a new medium and only very few people actually had a DVD-player.

20 years ago nobody had heard of cell phones (at least where I live). 20 years ago computers weren't really everywhere. 20 years ago even video recorders were expensive (they are again, today, because there's not many of them around any longer).

Technical development can't and shouldn't be avoided. It's what 'civilisation' is all about.

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