I spend my life surrounded by technology, working with a tech start up and living in one of the worlds larger cities, I can’t avoid being connected. But as I sit right now on a train passing through the British and then French countryside on the Eurostar I see the fields and fields of farming and old world cottages. I would never be on this train if it was not for my career in technology, going from one meeting to a conference in another country is a blessing no doubt, but am I really making a difference? To that point, are any of us involved in technology, supporting the latest buzzword, having an impact on the world at large. And more importantly are we making the world better
These are the thoughts I have been pondering and as i see classic farmland and beautiful scenery, the first reaction is that I am having no impact on how these people live, but then I started to look deeper into it. Most likely, I will never meet the farmer and his family living in the cottage we just passed, or the butcher that will make sure those same families are fed but that does not mean that we in technology have no impact. Some of these homes were built hundreds of years ago, yet they all have electricity and running water now, something unheard of when they were built. At the time electricity was nothing but a buzzword. Has the farmers life been impacted by the many many points of data stored from the “internet of things”, surely it has. Better weather forecasts, faster methods of selling their goods, all of these are things that the farmer enjoys. They make a difference in his life.
Does it matter that I work for a company that has a mantra that we can change the way data is stored, of course it does. The ability to store more data and process it faster could some day help the farmer and the butcher know that there may be a storm that could impact the crops and the herds of sheep that we watch pass by. I often get asked, what keeps me motivated to try to stay on the cutting edge of technology. It is sometimes amazing that the only time I get to stop and think of an answer about technology is when I am disconnected from the very technology world I live in.
To all those that ask why I travel so much or how I keep pushing, just make sure you take the few minutes to disconnect and look out the window at the farms and the small villages. They would easily exist without new technology, but can we as technologist make their life better or longer? That might be the ultimate question, but for me, the answer is yes and I hope some day to be involved with something that has as much impact as electricity.