Technology has truly come a long way. From black and white television, we now have smart TVs that integrate the internet with it. From giant brick phones that we couldn’t even fit into our pockets, we have phones so lightweight that we don’t even know if they’re still in our pocket.
Technology isn’t just for entertainment either. It surrounds us in our daily lives, with the aim to help make life easier. Many developments can even be life-changing. Imagine if we never developed phones. We would never be able to communicate with people unless we knew where they were and sent a letter to them.
We continue to discover and create more technologies. 2017 was no different. Take a look at some of the recent developments in technology that have changed or have the potential to improve our lives.
It sounds ominous but read on to find out how powerful this innovation can be. This won’t be a case of brainwashing or mind control like in the movie Kingsman. This year, scientists have been able to make progress in creating brain implants to help those with mobility impairment. Specifically, they try to help those whose freedom of movement may have been compromised due to spinal cord injuries.
A French neuroscientist had conducted tests wherein an implant had shown a relative success. The test subject merely had to think about moving, and their leg had shown movement. While it isn’t entirely developed yet, this is a breakthrough that can mean so much to bringing back mobility to many people.
Siri isn’t exactly new. However, more and more of its counterpart has been popping up – and they’re all becoming smarter. As more people use these virtual assistants, the more information tech companies have on what they’re getting right, and what they’re getting wrong. Hence, they tweak and fix the program until they get it right.
“Balancing technology use with other aspects of daily life seems reasonable, but there is a lot of conflicting advice about where that balance should be.” –Christopher J. Ferguson Ph.D. in clinical psychology
While some people –myself included– usually just use voice assistants for fun, some people do find it extremely useful. Not only does it help with the hands-free use of their phone, but it also helps them quickly find solutions to problems they may have. One just needs to give Siri a hello to see directions to the nearest ramen shop when you get a craving. It’ll also help those who have mobile or visual difficulties to use their phones.
Recently, Uber has shown some interest in potentially replacing its drivers with robots. I don’t mean physical robots, but instead, cars that can drive themselves. Swedish car company Volvo has made progress with this. Over the past year, they have successfully run trucks around Europe without a driver.
As cool as this may sound –no more unwanted or awkward conversations with your Uber driver– is does seem somewhat counter-productive to some. Uber was a way of sharing rides between people while giving drivers another source of income. If Uber goes driver-less, then that means these people could potentially lose their earnings.
“It has been found that prolonged and unmonitored technology usage can impact children on the cognitive, psychosocial, and psychological levels.” –Jyothsna Bhat, PsyD
Live Language Translation
Leave it to Google to come up with some innovative technology. Last October, Google had released its Pixel Buds. These are wireless headphones that translate different languages almost immediately.
While some people may be wary because Google Translate fails and memes have been commonplace on the internet, technology critics have commended Google’s latest invention. It currently only features 40 languages, but I’m sure that over the next few years, or even months, Google will continue to refine its Pixel Buds.
Unfortunately, it won’t be able to translate or read minds, so you’ll still need to figure out how to communicate well with your partner. Likewise, you can still depend on real people to help you with that but can still be easily accessible online through https://www.regain.us/advice/ and other online counseling platforms.
While the digital currency Bitcoin has been around since 2009, it hasn’t reached so much attention as it has this 2017. For those who are still unaware, Bitcoin is a virtual currency – meaning no physical coins or banknotes are made. Bitcoin is governed by a complex mix of math, engineering, computer technology and even physics.
What sets it apart from regular currency is that every Bitcoin transaction is traceable. This means that even if you do end up getting your Bitcoins stolen, the thief cannot spend them anyway because their transaction will be traced. This offers up much higher security than regular currency.
“There is also little doubt that all of the new technologies, led by the Internet, are shaping the way we think in ways obvious and subtle, deliberate and unintentional, and advantageous and detrimental.” –Jim Taylor Ph.D.