How Technology Has Changed Our Lives

Technology must make life easier.

Yesterday, earlier than usual, I had one session and eagerly forgot to transfer my wallet from the weekend to the weekday bag. In the S-Bahn there was a ticket control. I have an annual ticket (GA) and now I had to fill out a piece of paper that a nice gentleman entered into a device with which he then printed out two pieces of paper that I both had to sign. With one I now have to pay five francs at a railway counter and the problem is solved.

I like the SBB, which organises a large part of public transport in Switzerland. Their services are inexpensive and reliable, the staff is well trained and friendly and the company usually reacts very kindly to problems. Now comes the but: the technology is not used in this example to make life easier.

The fee of five francs by no means covers SBB’s expenses, which I caused. The controller and I both have smartphones that are connected to SBB databases (I have an account with which I can buy tickets on the move). I could neither identify myself with the smartphone nor pay the fee; the gentleman could not check whether I had a subscription (or he could only do so if I could identify myself – I did not have an identity card with me).

To get from the anecdotal to the general: Digital tools and social media must make life easier for us. We should – at least in spirit – keep project diaries that tell us whether learning skills and working with software ultimately leads to simplification. An example: analog photos had to be developed, but were taken much more sparingly. The prints were then physically available, perhaps labelled in the envelopes or glued into albums.

Digital processes lead to files on countless storage media, devices and hard disks that are neatly organized and retrievable in a few households. Although faces can be recognized automatically, geotags can be added and archives can be sorted by different criteria, we need more work with digital images and achieve worse results (browsing through a short photo album or a few prints is often much more communicative than presenting countless images on a projector).

The question: “What will be easier if we do this?” is a litmus test for every technological change. It cannot be circumvented by a description of additional functionalities – these are at best a bonus if previous procedures are new and possible with less effort.

Back to SBB: There are new tickets in the greater Zurich area that work with zones. For example, in order to travel from Wettingen to Lenzburg, you cannot buy a ticket “Wettingen-Lenzburg”, but only a series of zones that customers actually have to know by heart.

They are no longer in a position to flexibly select connections for the return journey, but must adhere to the corresponding zones for which their ticket is valid. If you do not live in Switzerland and want to buy a ticket, you can no longer find out which ticket is the right one at the ticket machines.

Of course, zone plans are a compromise between different political actors and ultimately not a technological problem: But technical solutions would have to simplify the problem in such a way that customers only see a simple interface and store the necessary details in the background (e.g. with QR codes printed on tickets).

“Hang up, I gotta get on the Internet.” It’s hard to believe that these iconic words were standard phrases a little over 20 years ago. Gone are the days of the frustrating modem Internet connection, when you had to sit in front of the TV at a certain time to watch your favourite series and fill your gaps in knowledge with the help of encyclopaedias.

Today you get the latest news straight to your tablet at high speed, organize your everyday life with apps, and watch the latest series and movies at a convenient and convenient time. There’s no question that the “technological revolution” of recent years has completely redefined old habits.

More efficient, faster, more productive, more dynamic – the constant development of new technologies has simplified countless aspects of our lives. Smartphones, tablets and the like have long been an indispensable part of our lives and have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives. Practical smartphones have long replaced televisions, radio and music players as “supercomputers”. Already a third of all Internet users in Germany prefer to surf the Internet with their smartphone.

The introduction of improved technologies at the workplace has led to increased productivity and more flexible structures. Thanks to cloud systems, it is easy to coordinate work processes with colleagues conveniently with a tablet or mobile phone without having to be present at the workplace. Thanks to digitalization, it is also possible to control household appliances such as heating and refrigerators at the touch of a button with an app at home.

Mobile technologies have also brought a breath of fresh air to the commercial sector, which is particularly evident in the entertainment sector. Never before has it been so easy to compare and rate millions of content, from online casinos and games to movies and music streaming.

It all started with the digital offering of traditional games like chess and checkers. Supply and demand have been rising steadily ever since. Just over half of smartphone owners say they play mobile games. Thus, it is the fastest growing sector in the gaming industry and it is obvious that many developers are trying to incorporate mobile games into their concept.

The advertising and marketing industry is also benefiting from this trend, as it enables potential customers to be reached more easily. The search for clients and the presentation of works is greatly facilitated by social networks and platforms.

In today’s smart, networked world, it’s not surprising that our love life has shifted to the online cosmos. Apps and websites make it possible to search for partners very efficiently with smartphones and tablets and to get to know people you would probably never have met otherwise.

In fact, electronics now dominates and determines all aspects of our daily lives. According to a study, the number of smartphones and tablets has increased sixfold since the presentation of the first iPhone in 2007. A remarkable trend, but one that can be seen with a laughing eye on one side and a crying eye on the other.

For example, we are exposed to a constant stream of information and stimuli via smartphones, tablets and the like, making it almost impossible to switch off and enjoy the moment. Conversations among friends have now been limited to group conversations on WhatsApp, and children and teens spend more time on their cell phones than outdoors.

Although mobile Internet has given us access to all kinds of information at all times, this has led to some convenience. With the result that we rely too much on our electronic companions and therefore attach less importance to retaining knowledge ourselves. True to the motto: “Uncle Google knows everything anyway”.

No matter which side of the argumentation you stand on, it is clear that smartphones, tablets and the like will continue to play a major role in our lives and will contribute to making our everyday lives more dynamic, more fun, simpler and more efficient.


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