The Times of India dated 2nd January 2014 had a debate in the editorial about the smart gadgets and how they have changed our life today. It stated a lot of experiences, but were limited to the examples of smart watches to the Google googles which helps you check the social networking sites and also take pictures and videos of what you see in real time. Since there were views and counter views about the same, it made me thinking and the need to jot down my own thoughts happened.
When you talk about smart gadgets, there are a whole wide variety of them. Ranging from your smart phone to the examples given by the articles, there are also other appliances like smart refrigerators, smart homes etc. Smart refrigerators keep a tab of your daily usage of various food products. They are linked to an account with your local grocer. As and when something falls below the permitted level, it sends a message to the grocer with an order of particular items and its quantity, the bill for which is sent to the bank directly.
Smart homes keep your home … for the want of a better word, smart. For those of you who hasn’t heard of it, smart homes are connected and controlled by your cell phones. The anti-theft device, the AC temperature, switching on the oven, everything can be controlled by a mere text. Just before you reach home, you can ensure that the home is at a particular temperature, the food in the over is warm, and the television is switched on to your favorite show and so on. Even the televisions have become smart and automatically saves the program you might miss so that you can view them at leisure later. You can even pause, rewind and play the live television. Some televisions can be converted to monitors and can be used for web surfing, as said by Ranbir Kapoor in some ad.
Smart watches now not only tell you the time, but also your blood pressure, your heart rate, sometimes even your weight. You can access internet, attend phone calls, view messages and mails and even check social networking sites via your smart watches. Depending upon your current location, some of them also sends out messages on the local hotspots, restaurants, clubs etc. depending on your interests. Having all this apps on your phone is so outdated now.
There are ear rings which double up as .mp3 players or even a bluetooth headset, clothes that charge your phones or even adapt to the temperature and keep you warm or cold as required according to the external temperature. The GPS in your car now not only gives you the direction to your desired location but also gives you the local news and popular local joints, along with the option to share your location with your friends and to find if any of your friends are currently nearby. To acquire and Iron Man or Robo-Cop type vision, now you need not have to put metal in your body. You can very easily buy them off the market very soon. The thing of future has become a part of the present.
You are connected to the world, no matter where you go or what you do. GPS allows you round-the-globe accessibility. The world has become so much interconnected that it is no longer the vast wide world we used to think of when we were small. Once upon a time, you had to wait for a post card from your relative at the other part of India for days, even months. But now, you can chat with someone in Canada right now. Just the other day, my cousin’s pics were sent from Chennai to USA and back to me in Mumbai in just a matter of minutes. Talking face to face no matter where you are, via Skype or 3G is so very common today. Distance is not an issue at all these days. Whatsapp and other such messaging apps has let you not only chat but also voice chat with your loved ones across the world.
At the same time, just like there are two sides of the coin, there is another side here also. You no longer have a private life. Today most of the networking sites request you to agree to auto updating your location. Some of us agree to it and lo and behold! The world knows where you are at any given time. Your likes, dislikes, what you eat, which movie you watch, the book you read, the music you listen to, is known to the world. Today, even your mood can be updated on the site. Privacy is a thing of the past, not only for the celebrities but also for the common man. It has made us extra conscious of ourselves and others. Whenever we meet a new person, we tend to check their networking site to see how much we are similar to that person. The comfort of personal interaction and knowing someone is a thing of the past. Everyone is judged by their latest status update.
Constant updates on your health is a good thing. But continuous monitoring of the weight and pulse rate might get you paranoid about your health. A watch is something we keep on us all the time and also constant checking of it is a natural response. So, after every meal we have, if we keep on noticing our weight, it will affect our appetite and health drastically. Having networking site updates and photo options on our googles will make us enjoy our surroundings less. Yes, we will be constantly updated on activities around the world, but we will be deprived from the news of the things in our immediate environment. The joy of merely looking at the blooming flowers or watching a couple happily in love go past us will be a thing of the past.
Being constantly engrossed in technology will lead to a disconnected and even robotic life. No matter how easy technology makes us, everything should be kept within limits. The joy of actually being around friends and asking them of their lives is so much more fun than knowing of their life activities via updates. The actual joy of cooking food from the scratch and watching your loved ones enjoy that feast, even if it is in small quantities, is a pleasure which ready-to-cook stuff straight from the over will not give. A stroll in the park, watching the kids play and the flowers bloom will give a lot of instant pleasure which you will not get when you see them later in the pics you had taken. Some moments are to be lived and not to be captured. Occasional indulgence in that chocolate cake would give a pleasure much more intense if that watch will just show you time and nothing else.
Today, our lives have become superfast. We try to squeeze in an extra hour apart from the 24 hours into time every day. In our race against time, these technology and smart gadgets help us a lot in innumerable ways. But there are times in life where we must take a break from the fast pace to slow down and enjoy the things that matter. Sometimes it is better to disconnect ourselves from the external world and be with the people who are the world to us. If we do not know what is happening to our world, then no matter how much connected we are to the globe, end of the day, it would mean nothing.
The smart gadgets are very much essential in our lives. They help us a lot. But at times, the plug should be pulled and emotional connect should be made with the people who matter. Only then will our life actually count.
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