Technology we take for granted

18 April 2017

When tasked with writing an article on the technology we take for granted, there were an infinite number of inventions and technologies I could discuss. The obvious ones would be those which, particularly in recent years, have revolutionised the way we live – smart phones and the internet being the stand-out contenders. However, we’re somewhat more aware that we take these for granted (although that doesn’t stop us from doing so) since these are relatively new technologies. So let’s instead consider a few technologies that have been established for much longer.

Travel, particularly air travel, is something which we definitely take for granted. We’ve come a long way since the Wright brothers’ first controlled flight and I think it’s very easy to take for granted the accessibility and affordability of air travel. Yes, modern day air travel has many annoyances but these are rarely down to the technology itself. So the next time you’re going on holiday, it’s worth taking a moment to consider that you’re somehow soaring at 36,000 ft. in what is essentially a metal tube. Likewise for other transport. We rely on cars, buses and trains to get us from A to B and yet, since they are so commonplace in our lives, we rarely reflect on the ingenuity of these machines.

Other technologies we take for granted are those associated with food: fridges, freezers, cookers, farm machinery, etc., all contribute to the ease with which we’re able to eat a meal. Fridges and freezers were invented long before I was born and so the idea of not being able to store food for days or weeks is unknown to me. It was only when I moved house recently and didn’t have a fridge-freezer for a few days that I realised how much I take it for granted, along with other conventional household appliances.

When taking technologies for granted, we also take for granted the positive impact that they have on our lives. Whether it’s the fact that you don’t have to walk the 5 miles to work every day or the fact that you can get home and cook dinner without having to light a fire, technology greatly improves our standard of living. That is not to say that our favoured technologies do not have their drawbacks, they definitely do, but the pros considerably outweigh the cons. They have to, otherwise the technology would not take off and be in a position to be taken for granted in the first place.

So the next time you’re frustrated at poor reception on your phone or cursing the extra 30 seconds it takes to enter your pin because the shop doesn’t have contactless payments (we’ve all been there), take a moment to appreciate the brilliance of the technology you’re surrounded by and which you rely on every day.

Chris Grieves

Chris Grieves


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