How my life has changed...

Misochippy! No. Do not try to find this word in the dictionary. It was invented by the Australian ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) (the only real broadcaster in Australia) (the others are just glorified baby sitters for all ages) announcer Kell Richards on the 21st of March 2002. Mark it in your diary.

As I write my 19 year old son is talking to an employment agency about a position in IT and I am listening to a piece called Chene Park performed by Edgar Wallace Jr. from mp3.com. My son's hand writing is illegible but he can type at about 50 wpm with two fingers!

What is this? When did this happen? My dad was born in 1891 in the formative years of the automobile, and telecommunications. As we move into this new century it is telecommunications that is transforming our world. If someone had told my dad early last century that his son 100 years hence would be listening to electronically processed jazz music streaming over then Internet - putting aside the semantic difficulties - I think his mind would have exploded. Not to mention electronic banking. I cannot remember the last time any member of our household actually visited a real bank. (Do they exist any more?)

I suppose for me it all started in about 1985 - I do not remember the date - or even the year. It can be timed by the release of the Commodore 128 since I bought one immediately upon their release in Australia. I remember it cost me AU$3,000 for the Commodore 128, a high resolution CGA monitor, a single sided floppy drive, I later added the double sided floppy when they were released, and an Epson dot matrix printer. I spent the next several years - with a few breaks to eat sleep and go to work - on the computer. One day whilst at work I was looking over my bosses shoulder trying to debug his spaghetti code. It was a horrible sight. He then invited me to fix the programme. I did not leave the seat for about four years. I remember that I completely rewrote the code about three times. From there I graduated into a permanent IT position, which I still hold.

However, all that having been said what is the social impact of this transformation and is it good or bad, morally and functionally.

The misochippists (I love that word) would have it that technology is evil. Well, maybe not inherently evil but is used in such evil ways that it should be tightly controlled, banned or both. The chippophiles on the other hand tell us that the technology is good and that it can lead to enlightenment, freedom, and universal harmony.

It is true that technology has brought us a world that was inconceivable to my dad, even at the time of his death in 1964 the current revolution was unimaginable. To enumerate just some of the pros,

I think that I had better stop. This can become boring and repetitive. What about the cons. I was talking to a friend the other day and he was by no means an expert on the Internet, his twelve year old son was far more knowledgeable than he was. He was building an extension to his house and I suggested that I could wire his house for a network before he put the gyprock up. He seemed terrified of what his son might get up to if the network extended to his bedroom where he might not be able to supervise it. I was initially surprised but thinking back I could see his point. His son and their friends could potentially get into serious trouble without my friend being any the wiser. As far as help for people in that situation - there is none. Most of the information is either exadurated or misguided. Like the Y2K "bug", too may people with too little knowledge. To the other extreme it appears that the Chinese government has blocked the Australian ABC site from China. A combination of paranoia and xenophobia. There are serious problems in the state of China.

I for one welcome technology. It is no more to be feared than any other human endeavor. It can be used for evil and good. The heart of man has not changed from ancient times - there are those who will always pervert that which one means for good to evil purposes, but that does not make it evil. The most we can do is guard our own hearts and those of the vulnerable, such as children.

The future is not to be feared but embraced and welcomed. We must not be slaves to history, past present or future, but shape own own history and forge a future with good will as men and women of faith. I am convinced that the century we live in now is better in many ways than the one into which my father was born. I also believe that whatever history my children and their children will see will be better again, whatever the evil that man sets his hand to.


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