Reflecting On Becoming A Quarter Centurian

So today is a pretty significant milestone in my life, I turned 25 years old. I remember wishing for this day when I was younger, thinking that this would be the last great birthday as it would be the time I could finally rent a car. However, with the emergence of Enterprise onto the rental car scene and some company contracts with rental car companies which bypass the whole “no renting until 25″ thing, much of the aura of becoming a quarter centurian has vanished.

It goes without saying that my life has changed drastically over the course of 25 years, but what strikes me as particularly amazing is how much the world has changed in 25 years. I didn’t intend on writing a post of this nature in the days leading up to today, however now I feel like a bit of reflection is appropriate for the situation.

Back in 1982 — from what I can remember — we used VCRs, had home telephones only, changed ribbons on typewriters, drove 55mph on freeways, had Reagan as President, supported Saddam, thought professional sports had integrity, drove station wagons, watched sitcoms, wore neon colors and incredibly short shorts.

Now, we use HD-DVD or Blu-Ray Discs, have more cell phones than home phones, change computers every few years, drive 65mph on freeways, have Bush as President, executed Saddam, criticize professional sports scandals, drive SUVs and hybrids, watch reality television, wear t-shirts with sayings on them and incredibly baggy shorts.

What I really want to focus on with this post, though, is technology. As I write this I am heading North on highway 95, about 20 miles outside of Washington, D.C., while my girlfriend Carin is driving. 25 years ago this would be impossible. The laptop that I’m writing on, the aircard that gives me Internet, and the blog that stores this information online, none of them existed when I was born.

Today, in just 25 years since my birth, so much has been accomplished from a technological standpoint that it’s quite difficult to grasp everything. The World Wide Web has completely turned our lives around, as now we can do everything from banking, grocery shopping, making travel plans, getting directions and much more right from the seat of our home. Satellite technology has evolved much as well, and now usage in activities such as weather tracking and flight management has enabled us to increase the safety and security of our everyday lives. And of course, the emergence of the personal computer has made nearly every single aspect of life easier and more efficient.

I could go on forever about the technological advancements of the last 25 years, but that is out of scope for this post and I just wanted to make the point that it has evolved more than anyone could have anticipated.

However, with all of the technology success stories it is easy to forget that much of the time technology is used for malicious purposes. For example, to develop increasingly lethal weapons, or to enhance the ability of the government to spy on its citizens. With all of our new technology, the world has seemingly become a much smaller place, and thus the potential for conflict has risen sharply.

Technology has the ability to make human life better than anyone can ever imagine. Conversely, it also has the ability to destroy every single one of us. While I absolutely hope that I will be able to write another post of reflection in another 25 years, I hope more that humanity will not allow technology to be used with harmful intent.

To a more peaceful 25 years,

Jon

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