Thursday, March 10, 2011

Like It's 1999

"The sky was all purple, there were people runnin' everywhere..."

Ah, yes... party like it's 1999! I remember in grade school, we had to pick a song and write out its lyrics. I picked Prince's "1999". In hindsight, it's best I didn't pick one of his other tunes. Well, in the song, they were looking forward to some sort of madness. As computers began more and more to run our lives, new concerns arose a decade or so later about "Y2K"... when airplanes were to fall out of the sky and all sorts of havoc were to ensue from the changing of some digits "99" to "00". I flew from California to DC on 12/31/99, and I had the whole row of seats to myself.

In 1999, I had a pager, but no cell phone. The internet was still forming - in fact in one of my last undergraduate college classes, our Economics professor showed us around the different websites and showed us how to look up information. I had no email address. There were no Google, no Facebook, and no Twitter... no Skype. No one told you to "text" them later. There were digital cameras, but the quality was still very poor. GPS was something only used by the military, mostly, I suppose. I can't recall anyone in school with a laptop computer. We bought CDs... from the store. "Apps" were appetizers, a "droid" was R2D2 or C3PO, and "social networking" was... well... a party. "De-friending" usually involved some sort of physical altercation having to do with a girl, alcohol, money, or some combination of the three. I never would have thought to procede a colon with a closed parenthesis for any reason - certainly not to express any type of emotion. To "chat" simply meant to talk to someone casually, you know - hearing each other's voices. Friends gathering for dinner didn't all have their phones on the table.

Twelve short years ago, technology was growing and growing and setting the stage for an internet revolution and the dawn of the Information Age. We knew it then, but we didn't know to what extent technology would not just change the world, but change who we are. When was the last time you sat down and wrote a letter on a piece of paper and sent it in the mail? How devestating was it to lose or break your mobile phone and be without for any period of time? The world is going to continue to change, as will technology adapt to meet consumer demands. "Change is good" is what I keep hearing with seemingly greater and greater frequency, but nobody seems compelled to have to back that up with actual proof. Now, I like technology - I do! However, moving forward, we need to be aware of how technology is CHANGING US. Furthermore, what has gone from a facilitator of human interaction to a replacement of our humanity? Where will we be in twelve more years? It's important to consider.

As an experiment, I am using the Lenten Season to sacrifice the use of a few things acquired in my 21st Century: the internet, a mobile phone, my iPod, text messaging, and my digital camera. Yes, we're fasting like it's 1999. However, I do believe that I should be encouraged to write, so I am allowed to upload to my blog. I mean, depriving the world of me could just be detrimental to my goal of international tranquility, and that would be bad. Ya know?

So, flux capacitor is... fluxing. 1.21 gigawatts at the ready (stolen from the Libyans!), gonna go back in time!

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