From intelligent apps today to self-driving cars tomorrow, smart technologies are helping us make better choices – even potentially life-saving ones.
“Check this out! You’re gonna love it!” my friend Mike shouted to me from behind the wheel of his new VW.
As we quickly sped onto the Øresund Bridge, I began to doubt my sanity for joining Mike’s “really cool demonstration.”
Accelerator slammed to the floor, both of us pinned back into our seats, we closed on the car ahead at an alarming rate. Frozen in terror, I instinctively braced for impact. Just then, a red warning light flickered on the dash and our car automatically slowed to a safe following distance.
“Amazing stuff, huh?” Mike yelled, excitedly. Heart somewhere in my throat, I could merely nod.
The collision-avoidance feature in his car is an example of all the awesome “smart” technologies that work on our behalf to make life easier, healthier, safer and, yes, more fun. They touch just about every part of our existence. Our refrigerators sense when we’re running low on milk and add a carton to our Amazon shopping list. Our Jabra Sport Pulse wireless headsets monitor our heart rate and send the results to an app that, in turn, drives us to work out smarter. And who read maps anymore? We trust Google Maps to get us where we need to go.
We Can’t Be Experts in Everything
Our bridge escapade got me wondering… why are we so willing to place our trust – and often our lives – in the hands of technology?
For starters, because we believe that technology helps us make better choices. Our lives are more complicated and faster-paced than ever – so much so that we can’t be experts in all facets of it. But that expertise now exists in the form of technology, so we choose to rely on it. We go where technology guides us.
It’s hard to imagine just a decade ago the mind-boggling array of technologies that today enable us to communicate, travel, learn, monitor our health and more. Even if we could imagine them, we probably wouldn’t have accepted them. Yet technology has rapidly become ubiquitous and, perhaps as important, reliable.
For the same reason most of us don’t think twice about following advice from smart devices that monitor our biometrics, we’re now willing to allow a phone app to monitor our blood pressure. What’s next? Virtual reality and self-driving cars, for sure, and no shortage of those who will readily adopt them.
Sure, some people worry that we’re turning over too much of our lives to technology. But as long as it is created by humans for humans, I’m not one of them. To me, technology isn’t about doing more, it’s about doing things better and smarter.
I can only thank Mike and his stunt on the Øresund Bridge for driving home the point.