For the love of technology

Using my iPhone in Federation Square, Melbourne
Using my iPhone in Federation Square, Melbourne

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful … that’s what matters to me.” Steve Jobs, Wall Street Journal, 1993

I’ve been thinking recently about the late Steve Jobs and his contributions to the world. Following his sad passing on October 5, much has been written on the subject of his legacy. So, I’d like to add my voice to the conversation.

I was born in the 70s and grew up in the 80s. The threat of nuclear war was very real to me during my childhood. It seemed all it would take is one press of a button and we would all be gone. At school, we read classics like 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Well, it was 1984 now and that brave new world was on its way.

It was a time before Microsoft, before the Internet, before mobile phones. We had the most basic computers in high school. Black screens with green text that you could program with simple commands. Enter ‘cat’ = show ‘meow’, or something to that effect.

For me, the 80s were all about – forgetting Madonna for a moment – the ‘greed is good’ ideology, the birth of the yuppie, and scientists mentioning climate change (or global warming as it was called then) for the very first time. I moved to Sydney in 1992 to work for Greenpeace and try to save the planet from capitalism. Technology seemed like a very scary thing. Like something I didn’t want. One day robots would take over the world. And ultimately us with them.

So, fast forward to 2011 and it is surprising to find that I can’t live without technology. I am excited to see where we take technology into the future. And robots? Love them.

What I believe Jobs contributed to my generation was to move the masses from a place of fearing technology to embracing it. And not just embracing it, but adoring it. It was a revolutionary shift. For me, Jobs changed technology from something sinister and evil into something I wanted. Very much. Like right now, if not sooner. And keep it coming, please.

When my service provider offered me the first iPhone in 2008, I initially said no thanks. The sales representative sounded shocked. So I rang my Generation Z son to check I’d made the right decision. “Do I want to upgrade to an iPhone?” I asked him. “Um yes, of course you do, is this a trick question?” he asked.

So I upgraded. And through this sweet little gadget, Jobs made me fall in love with technology. Now, I had used technology before in my work, of course, but I never loved Microsoft Office. I used it because I had to. But through the iPhone, I started to appreciate technology’s power, its beauty and its potential. The online world, especially social media, was suddenly much more fun.

As a writer, with a print background, I entered cyberspace with trepidation. But now I live in it. We can self publish and that’s amazing. We can interact and connect with our readers like never before. I can sit in a train and read a blog post by a writer on the other side of the world. I can edit my blog, share my posts and respond to your comments on my iPad. On the move and anywhere I choose. And it’s really only just begun.

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Domonique says:

    hey sum, interesting to read this today after watching an interview with bill gates last night, reflecting on his legacy and the progress of technology & health. thought you might also like it: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2011/s3392161.htm
    xdom.

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    1. Thanks Dom, really enjoyed reading this xx

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  2. Great article Summer, well said indeed….Penny (aka silver)

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    1. Thanks Penny, lovely feedback 🙂

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  3. Jamie Shaw says:

    Eloquently expressed Summer.While i try hard to swim against the tide of relinquishing my simplistic “off the radar” lifestyle, for no particular reason, upon examination. I wonder if Steve Jobs had any real notion of the “back to the future” shall we say, impact his brilliance would have upon the human psyche? Given the proliferation and dominence of his technological gadgets and tools in modern life and our dependence upon them, one can’t help but observe, with a level of ammusement the increase in people “addicted” to these tools. Not only Apple products, but all forms of electronic aids and services. From iphone apps,social media, online services and video games right through to the seedier side of online gambling, porn and dating sites. Are we now blurring the line between obsessive behaviour and addiction? Is it just the definition of the two that is now becoming murky? Or maybe it is something else, could it be highlighting our misunderstanding of either condition and just how prevelant a role they play in our human frailty?It is with some trepidation i post this reply Summer, now cursing my computer illiteracy and inability to wield this machine with the same level of compentacy and confidence of a motorcycle. I fear grammatical errors will be glarringly obvious to someone of your superior statute and bow my head in defeat and embarrassement as i declare my unworthiness and scramble for the latest catalogue of mobile phones.

    Highest regards

    Jamie Shaw

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    1. Hi Jamie, thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment in my blog. Great to hear your thoughts. I agree with your take on obsession vs addiction – the online world is so easily accessible now. Maybe too accessible? Yes, video games… personally I’m not into them but for some people it’s virtually all they do! I simply love the iPhone as a communication tool – whether it’s writing in my blog or posting a comment on facebook, for me it’s about interaction and connection. Thanks again for your comment, I really appreciate it 🙂

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  4. Grant says:

    Great article Summer. I asked some friends recently what the considered was the greatest 10 inventions of all time. We all voted for the phone up front at Number 1 and while others claimed penicllin, it seemed communication devices such as television (cameras) and the light bulb were the most important. Having said that, I rate the flushable toilet as pretty important and I’m sure the woman who invented the wheel must be screaming from history “what about my wheel”.
    It has to go without saying that the telephone and its evolution is a moment in time which will resonate and dare I say, ring through time. Mine is sitting next to me playing music while it downloads my latest pics and advises me when my next email arrives.
    G

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    1. Hi Grant, thanks for your thoughts. The phone was an amazing invention – but having travelled in India, where toilets don’t flush, I have to agree with your take on the flushable toilet lol! Technology has advanced so quickly in recent times, I wonder what inventions are yet to come, things we can’t even imagine right now. Thanks again for taking the time to comment in my blog, I really appreciate it 🙂

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