A Future of Fast Connectivity

When I was growing up, our home had a party line (at least, when I was younger). Of course, most people have no idea of what a party line is because most people have never experienced one. A party line is a telephone connection that you share with several of your neighbors. That’s right, you don’t have your own personal telephone connection or even a dedicated connection to your home. When you receive a call, a unique ring tells you that the call is for you and not for one of your neighbors. I’m really not kidding—this isn’t April Fools or some type of other fiendish joke foisted by someone who is older on an unsuspecting public.

The new world order of cellphones where every individual not only has an individual phone, but a separate telephone number is a huge advance over the days of my early youth. Of course, some of us still have landlines because cell access is a tad spotty, but eventually the cell providers or some other concern will address the problem. The idea that you can connect through your cellphone to the Internet and create a wireless connection is amazing. It’s not a fast connection in many areas of the country today, but at least it works much of the time.

Some people haven’t really stopped to consider the huge changes that have taken place during this transition. At one time, getting away from it all really did mean being out of touch and people survived just fine. Today it’s hard to get disconnected. Most people are tethered together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is no private time and the thing we called privacy is a long forgotten dream. With the loss of privacy has also come a certain loss of freedom. Just how free are you when someone can track your movements and check up on you at any time.

Unfortunately, like it or not, the trend will just continue. I read an article entitled, Ultrafast Internet opens up new possibilities: experts, not too long ago that paints a picture of the future that some will find exciting. However, I have to wonder just how exciting it will actually be once it arrives. The mere act of walking around your home will possibly take on new meaning because virtual people could simply pop in at any time. Just think about it. You won’t be able to simply ignore the cell call you don’t want to receive anymore—the person will simply appear in your house unbidden. Of course, there won’t be anything illegal about the act because no one has bothered to create laws regarding it.

Lest you think that this is some future technology that you’ll never see, companies such as Google are making it happen as I write this post. Even though the connectivity isn’t yet what most would consider high speed, there are vendors who will sell you Internet connectivity literally everywhere—connectivity that brings this whole virtual reality one step closer. The fact of the matter is that it won’t be long and there will be no getting away from it all and there will be no privacy of any sort for anyone. We’ll be monitored, checked, validated, categorized, and controlled 24 hours a day unless laws are put in place now to keep this rampant technology in check.

The question, of course, is whether people really are ready for virtual holidays where everyone attends the family dinner from their own home (a technology called telepresence). Yes, you can see the other people, but will you truly be able to interact with them? What are your thoughts about the whole issue of connectivity so fast that our real world will be subsumed by a virtual world? Let me know at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.

 

An Avoidance of Technology

As an author, I’m always interested in hearing how people use technology to better their lives or as a means of entertainment. However, I’m just as interested in the non-use of technology. In fact, there are people who outright avoid technology or keep their use of technology at a certain level and I find that learning about these people makes me a better author. For example, I recently read about a family that won’t use any technology newer than 1986. A number of other people are discussing the avoidance of technology for technology’s sake as a means of creating a more sustainable environment. Some people equate these kinds of movements as a backlash against technology, but that truly isn’t what’s happening here. These people aren’t some new age Amish who choose to ignore certain technologies as part of a religious conviction. What is really happening is that people either fail to see a need to embrace certain technologies or they have chosen to use only the technologies that serve a specific need in their lives.

It’s currently estimated that 15 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet because it doesn’t make sense for them to do so or they lack access in some way. Interestingly enough, 9 percent of Americans don’t have cellphones of any type. There are many reasons for not having a cellphone, but in many cases it’s a personal choice. Even if the person had access, they wouldn’t want the cellphone because it would interfere with their lifestyle. The assumption that everyone owns a smartphone (essentially a computer sized down to fit into a cellphone body) is also incorrect. Only about 56 percent of Americans have a smartphone now. All these statistics, and many more, point to the idea that not everyone embraces every technology and there are many reasons for not doing so.

All of my books to date have assumed that someone has embraced a particular technology and wants to know about it. However, while many people assume that the potential reader has lots of experience with technology, my lower end books usually don’t make this assumption because many people are still adapting to technology. I also don’t assume the use of technology is a personal desire—many people use technology solely because of a job requirement.

The reason this post is important to you is that it helps to explain some of the things readers have questioned me about in the past. The question of why it’s important to explain a concept at a certain level hinges on the audience I’m addressing. Within this audience are people who have no experience and a low level of desire to interact with the target technology, so I must ease them into learning what they need to know. Unfortunately, the very act of easing some people into a technology offends other people who openly embrace a technology and were really looking for the short explanation for a technology. It’s hard for any author to find the precise mix of information that will meet the needs of the broadest range of readers possible and there will always be some level of disappointment for many readers.

Trying to figure out precisely how to present information to my readers is important to me. That’s why your input is so important. Always feel free to let me know how you feel about the coverage of technology in my books. I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to change the manner in which I cover technology, because I’m always faced with competing interests between readers, but I’ll always listen to what you have to say and make changes as appropriate. Are you avoiding technology? Let me know why at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.