Progress?

March 1, 2018

Does anyone remember going to Disneyland back in the 60’s and sitting through General Electric’s presentation, The Carousel of Progress? How funny to look back at the things that were so progressive then: the color televisions, the self-cleaning ovens, the video-recorder, and so much more.

Ashleigh Brilliant said, “You can’t stop progress, but you can help decide what is progress and what isn’t.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love progress. I love technology. And even more,  I love progress in technology. Yes, sometimes it can drive me insane, when equipment doesn’t work properly, or conflicts with other equipment. But still…. in general, technology makes my life a lot easier.

The one thing that makes me, well, a little wistful though, is the thought that my grandchildren have no clue that there used to be phones that had a dial on them.  They wouldn’t understand if they were not able to view a picture on a phone or camera immediately after the photo was taken.  They don’t know what a television dial channel selector is, or that we sometimes had to use “rabbit ears” to get a good picture on our television. I’m pretty sure they would think the television was broken if they were to see a program in black-and-white.

Our granddaughter Emily is now 14, but when she was about 5, she was asked to draw a picture at school.  The word she had to draw was “skip.”  That’s kind of a hard word to draw, wouldn’t you think?  But she whipped it out in just a few seconds. 

This was her drawing. When our daughter showed it to us, my husband and I puzzled over it before we finally had to ask our daughter what it was. She said she didn’t know either and had asked Emily, who replied with a slight bit of indignation:  “Skip. It’s Skip. Like on the remote. You skip past the commercials.”  

Progress? Well, it was rather embarrassing for me that she knew how to use our television remote when I didn’t. But then again, could she actually skip (the REAL kind of skip)  as well as I could?

Our 4-year-old grandson, Owen doesn’t watch television much. Perhaps an hour a week. But a few weeks ago, our son Brian walked into the living room to see Owen contentedly sitting on the couch watching cartoons. Cartoons that no adult had turned on for him.  Brian asked Owen who turned the television on for him, and he said, “Alexa.”  

Progress?  Yeah, who can argue that asking a device to do something for you and having it do so is progress? I’ve got an Echo Dot, and I have to admit it is amazing. 

But if we’re talking progress here, I would really like to ask the technology developers out there a question.  How much longer will it be before the Echo Dot or Alexa, or any other such device can actually vacuum for me (with my vacuum cleaner, not the Rumba), or clean the bathrooms?  I’d even settle for just one of the two for a while.

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Jane Maurice

    My grandparents took us to Disneyland from the year it opened, every summer. We got to ride any of the transportation rides for free on my Grandpa’s train pass. I applied a lot of the Disney imagineering to my career and life’s works. I got into electronics from desire in building a robot to do housework, including folding clothes. I was ahead of even the belief in a robotics era but robotics is every day life for the up and comers! Technology can be fun!

    Reply
    • Karen

      What an interesting story, Jane. I’ll be your first customer when you get that housework-robot completed. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  2. Beatrice

    I laughed out loud. I didn’t know Alexa had so many talents.

    Reply
    • Karen

      Yes, indeed. Leave it to a 4-year-old to figure that out!

      Reply
  3. Steph

    I am voting for Alexa to clean my bathrooms! We don’t have Alexa, but she is a little scary.

    Reply
    • Karen

      That would probably be my preference too, Steph!

      Reply

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