In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns, some aspects of today’s life were put in a new light. One of these is how little things change for people’s everyday lives if they’re prevented from leaving their home.
Don’t get us wrong – the lockdown was tough on many people and some lives were fundamentally altered. But just think about how little the average person had to give up. The level of comfort and self-sufficiency a person can achieve from their bedroom these days is downright incredible. Completely limiting movement the way most countries did would have been impossible just a few decades ago.
So, as a bit of a reminder of how far we’ve come, let’s take a look at some of the biggest ways technology has impacted the lives of people.
This one is a bit of an umbrella term, purely because it directly impacts almost every other entry in this list – and almost every other aspect of our lives. However, the fact that most people don’t even consider how easy it is to get in touch these days just shows how fundamental it is to our society.
For now, though, let’s just stick to everyday interpersonal communication. Nowadays, anyone with a phone and an internet connection can contact anyone in the world at any given time. Even though communication online is a poor substitute for the “real thing”, our lives are intertwined on a level previous generations would have thought impossible. The next time you enjoy a coffee with your friends using a video call, stop to think about how amazing this simple action truly is.
Business got Bigger
Countless people were forced to work from home during these previous few months, which pointed out some things. Namely, communication isn’t just important for conducting business – it is business. Some companies have even noticed that working exclusively from home is an improvement and are considering sticking to it after the pandemic.
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The impact technology has had on everything from logistics to pitching ideas to investors would be hard to fully wrap your head around. No matter how you look at it, we live in times of the quickest advancement of industry in recorded history. You can be sure that a good chunk of this can be attributed to the unparalleled access to new technologies.
Education and Learning
How many times a week do you take your phone out to quickly look something up? This one gets brought up a lot, but that doesn’t make it any more impressive. The entirety of human knowledge, the millions of years of study, research, and betterment – and it’s all right at your fingertips.
Similarly to working from home, we’ve also learned quite a bit about the more formal meaning of the word “education”. Taken to its extreme, the concept of learning from home can be world-changing. For instance, anyone from the world could follow any class from the world’s best universities with just a laptop. We’re not there yet, of course, but you can be sure that students of the previous generations would have done anything for a Wikipedia page about the object of their research paper.
Media and Entertainment
Critics are quick to point out that entertainment is becoming a bit of an obsession nowadays, but improving people’s lives is hardly a bad thing. It is a blessing that you can watch any film, listen to any piece of music, or read any book you want, anywhere you want.
It doesn’t end there, either. Video games are slowly but surely becoming the world’s biggest entertainment industry. Similarly, the best online games are slowly but surely overtaking their land-based games in terms of turnover. Almost all the ways we enjoy ourselves these days are linked to technology in one way or another, which can be easy to lose sight of.
They say that the world in the 21st century is a global village, and that’s more true than most of us are aware of. However, the ease with which we can pack up and travel to a new destination has ensured unprecedented availability of simple and affordable tourism.
Before the digital age, going somewhere without hiring a dedicated travel agency would have been a nightmare. Even then, finding decent accommodation and transportation would involve a good deal of guesswork. Having every hotel in the country clearly and transparently compared to one another has done wonders for competition, and the customer ultimately reaps the rewards.
Let’s not even get started with GPS and how mapped and easy to find everything is. You could wake up on the other side of the world tomorrow and easily find a place to get a decent, cheap haircut.
Commerce and Shopping
Speaking of competition, comparing products online through reviews and user experiences has drastically improved customer education. If you make the effort and do the research, you can ensure that every cent you use is spent wisely.
We’ve already covered the aspect of businesses and finance, so this list entry refers more to personal use. The fact that most of us can buy anything from the day’s groceries to a new car with just a few clicks has made lives much easier. Throw in the host of online payment options and the way technology has essentially replaced paper currency, and its easy to see how fundamentally our shopping habits have changed over the years.
Health and Fitness
This one ties into several of our previous entries, but it’s important nonetheless. We shouldn’t waste too much time on how medicine has improved with technology – that much is a given. From vaccines to the newest medical equipment, it all took quite a bit of engineering.
However, a less considered fact is that people’s lifestyles are becoming healthier with technology. There are bad sides, of course – sitting in front of a computer all day is not exactly good for you. However, the availability of information has made it much easier to educate ourselves about what we eat and how we exercise, which has had a notable effect on society as a whole.
Exploring the complete impact of technology on the world would be far beyond the scope of this article. Instead, we’ve tried to give you a little food for thought about the current state of the world. One way or another, we have opportunities these days which can be likened to Sci-Fi movies of the past, and it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate that fact.