It began when I couldn’t figure out how to set up my new TV equipment. I should have known it spelt my total disintegration as a handy man. While my young son easily handled the installation, I was left bewildered and robbed of my intellectual superiority. The apprentice had become the master.
From there on things steadily declined until today I admit I know nothing about the inner workings of the technical componentry which guides the new reality. I use computers, engage programs, web surf, watch paid TV and use my smart phone for almost everything, including changing my air conditioning temperature and answering my front door. I can’t for the life of me understand the wizardry of it all. I’m proud to say that I’m better than most at my age, but it disturbs my ego that I don’t instinctively know the right place to go when the screen doesn’t tell me what I want to know.
I struggle with acronyms, I had trouble remembering what an ATM was, let alone that SIMM means Single In-Line Memory Module. Then there’s jpegs and mpegs and after that I pretty much shot to bits. It’s not second nature to me and I have to think ‘slow’ to make things work. Sure I use a computer everyday at work, but to me it’s like flying a Boeing, while the kids around me are flying Stealth Bombers.
I love using the stuff. It makes me feel 30 again but boy do I get into strife when I try to keep up with kids. It’s too often humiliating as they look at you and say, “What are you talking about” or more often “Daah!”. In truth it’s all a little confusing and being left behind isn’t much fun, but it sure as hell is a privilege to be around when this explosion of thinking is at its pioneering best.
And that brings me to what little I do know.
I know for a fact that technology has already changed our lives and I know it will continue to impact our social and cultural attitudes in the future. I know that while it brings its challenges it also brings great benefits and importantly as a marketer, I know if you’re in business and you’re not on the cutting edge of this revolution, you’ll be behind the eight ball or worse.
There is nothing more certain. Technology is out pacing our creative capacity to create it. Will it create itself? Who knows but one thing is for sure – when you let artificial intelligence out of the bag, you better be in control of it, not the other way around.
Meantime, business needs to utilise every bit of benefit technology can deliver and at the same time learn how it all works because one day your life may depend on it.
This is a new world, a world for the smart technological thinkers and as it silently laps towards the great unknown, it’s useful to observe the lessons of the past and ensure we keep our decency, our dignity and our humanity.