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Technology: Friend or foe?

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I'll be the first to admit that technology has made our lives easier -- just think about all the medical breakthroughs or revolutions of the industrial era. In fact, we have made more technological advancements in the past 25 years than during the entire 20th century. Is that a good thing? Probably. However, there's something scary about progressing at such a rapid pace.

Always on the cutting edge
Back in the 1950s, few cars had HVAC systems; nowadays, this piece of equipment has become an integral part of automobiles, much like steering wheels and brake pedals. Technology has also contributed to the development of advanced safety and entertainment systems that sounded sci-fi not so long ago.

Remember, when you were a kid you dreamed of playing your Atari or Nintendo games while on a road trip with the family? Well, now it's possible thanks to the latest infotainment systems. Today's cars can even turn into mobile theatres!

When cars do all the thinking
No need for paper maps anymore: Most vehicles offer built-in navigation systems (or you can use a navigation app on your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone). You don't even need to use a phone book since modern GPS devices will list various points of interest which you can easily select using the touchscreen interface.

No wonder 21st-Century kids don't see the point of opening a book or doing research at the library...

Bluetooth connectivity allows you to stay in touch on the go, automatic braking systems compensate for driver inattention, and rearview cameras make perfect parking manoeuvres a breeze (not to mention that some cars can park themselves!). A few years from now, autonomous vehicles will even become a reality.

Autonomy, but at what cost?

This word alone gives me goose bumps. While driverless cars have shown that they can be safer than conventional vehicles, I think we've gone a bit too far.

Have you seen the 2008 animation movie Wall-e? The characters are totally dependent on technology, they can't perform the slightest physical task, and they spend their entire days moving around like rolling couch potatoes -- literally. Heck, they even use a screen to talk to people who are right in front of them! I fear we're starting to look a lot like these dystopian weirdos...

If you ask me, moderation is always the solution, and like all the finer things in life, I believe technology is better in small doses. That's why I'll always carry my paper maps even though my phone has GPS.