Technology Is Nothing Without People

This past Saturday I made the short trek to Disney Springs with my wife, father, and his girlfriend to get some dinner and catch the holiday light show. I had seen some footage provided by Intel so I knew it was going to be good. Turns out, I was right.

To watch the sky expecting to see dark objects roaming about before the show to begin and then being wholly surprised to watch a blooming of lights appear out of nowhere and as if suspended in midair by nothing but the hopes and dreams of the onlookers below is magical. Although like any new technology, it will be normalized over time, but that moment was incredible. It was like watching the future unfold before your very eyes.

It’s the same feeling I got in 2007 when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone. It was the same feeling I got when Microsoft revealed the Hololens. This is stuff that moves the bar farther forward than you even expect. And I’m not alone in that feeling.

Before I say what happened after the show, let me explain something about my father. He called me one day this year and asked for my help with his computer. It was a ten-year-old Pentium box running Windows Vista. I took a look and it was completely barren of junk ware. It was used for exactly three things: browsing the web, cutting out vinyl stickers, and editing photos using Paint Shop Pro 7. You’ve never heard of it? It came out sixteen years ago. He was having trouble accessing his favorite websites. The problem? They stopped supporting Internet Explorer 9. Although he is a genius in his own right when it comes to metal and paint as an auto body shop owner, and a naturally curious person in general, when it comes to most things with a computer he’s what you’d call pragmatic. On the adoption curve, he’s what you’d call a “late adopter.”

Walking back from the end of the Disney drone show, he was enthusiastically talking about all the possibilities of drones. I mentioned that Amazon was planning on using them at some point, and he said “Yeah! You could drive a truck out to a rural area, with drones all ready to go and they all fly out and in five minutes you’ve got two hundred packages delivered.” We talked about how they could have done it and further possibilities of the technology on our walk to dinner. With the typical Disney parental roles reversed, I drank in the look of possibility and wonder on his face.

That is the power of technology. It’s all about people, and it touches all of our lives, even those of us who don’t run out to buy the latest gadgets. We, the people who make technology, always need to keep that at the forefront of our minds. We have a responsibility to delight, to inspire, and to create good with the skills we possess.

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