Does anyone here remember Y2K? If you do, you likely haven’t given much thought for about 15.5 years. Welcome to the 21st century — the most fast-paced, technologically advanced, globalised, and interconnected century of them all. Welcome to the age where problems and glitches are efficiently solved, hacked, and long forgotten almost as quickly as they reach the masses in the first place. Where the question, “What’s the wifi password here?” has become the most used conversation opener (and, simultaneously, conversation closer) in our common public interactions. Welcome to the age where technology prevails – everyone has access, everyone uses it, and yet only about 1% of the population knows how it works, how to fix it when it breaks, and how to design the Next Best Thing. Meanwhile, the rest of us continue to be the ideal customer: primed and ready to consume, glorify, upgrade, and accessorise.
Here’s a cool paradox: the more dependent we are on technology, the more saturated our daily routines become with it, and the more ubiquitous it is in our environment and surroundings – the less we actually pause to think about the potential implications and detriments to this inter-dependent relationship, and simply accept it as a baseline factor in our day to day activities. Gone are the days when we consciously think about the direct influence of technology in our lives. The power buttons on our mobiles and laptops haven’t been touched for months. The reality? We never unplug. We never turn off. When we’re not checking in, we’re uploading, syncing, refreshing, swiping, matching, fetching, and pushing. And if not, it’s because we are frantically searching for a wall plug and a USB cable.
Dear technology, it may be time for us to take a step back and re-evaluate this relationship.
TEDxKrakowSalon is back at it again, and this time, we’re looking forwards and backwards in time, in order to better look at ourselves. We are living in a time characterised by unique (technological) privilege and immense potential — with the world at our fingertips, the platforms by which to gain the attention of the masses, and with unlimited access to compounded intelligence, information, and resources — we’d like to pause and ask ourselves, “What next?”
We can all agree there’s no shortage of viral videos, trending hashtags, and the constant buy-sell-resell pattern with our newest (and already “old school”) smartphones. But are we truly turning into mindless consumers, who might soon be left behind by the very technologies on which we have come to rely? Are we really using all these resources to their full potential, or are we maybe squandering all this power, right at our fingertips, too preoccupied with likes, friends, and followers, to notice it all starting to slowly slip away beyond our grasp? On Thursday, March 10, TEDxKrakow wants to talk about one of the most complicated relationships we know — between humans and technology. We will examine what developments have occurred to date, we will reflect on the potential developments that are ahead of us, and, more importantly, we will open a critical conversation on technology, and try to bridge the gap between those who create it, those who really know it, and those who simply use it.
So, what are your plans for this Thursday evening? Well, you could “Netflix & chill.” Or, maybe, you’d like to join in the conversation with TEDxKrakow at Krakow Technology Park at 18:00. Don’t worry, you won’t have to surrender your smartphone at the door.