It’s not easy to dismiss the age of technology and the effect it has upon our economy. There are so many answers and perspectives to this question, but every right answer will have elements of these four core truths:
1. Our economy relies upon technology more than ever before.
We’ve come a long way from hiding dollar bills in bed sheets. When we look at our savings and bank accounts we look to the computer or an ATM for numbers on a screen. We know if we can buy that new couch because the LCD screen says we can. tangible money has been replaced by a system of magnetic strips and transactions done with Zeros and Ones. Rarely do we hear about large sums of money in cash form. One could argue this started with the advent of checks. It was more “convenient” than cash. Now we can swipe a card, or why even take your credit cards, do it from your phone. Send money by way of third parties like Paypal. Our monetary system has become something less tangible and more intangible. Billions of dollars aren’t stacks of cash in a warehouse they’re numbers on a computer screen, that carry the same weight as those stacks of cash.
2. The 90’s and the Age of Technology
When we think of the 90’s we think of the success we had with an economy. We can debate all day why the economy was as good as it was, but looking back it had nothing to do with Clinton and everything to do with technology. Yahoo was the dominant search engine. People who saw dark purple walls thought of a search engine able to brings you vast sums of knowledge at your fingertips. Who knew that only a couple of years later, they would be pushed by the wayside for even more dominant technologies. Google was a startup, it kind of became a big deal. Microsoft, had it’s hayday pushing the boundries of computers. You could carry a phone around with you, then the phone got smaller, then you could send people short messages instead of calling them, then you could check your email, wait email? The Post Office would begin to die. The 90’s were the foreshadowing of today. Just think that children born today will think of these technologies as ubiquitous. However that’s far from the truth. What isn’t far from the truth is the growth of technology – it’s been anything but linear.
3. The Biggest Companies in The World are technology companies
People may think of the guys online, or the company that makes computers and ways of accessing the internet, but it’s deeper than that. When you talk about the biggest companies in the world you can add car companies, oil manufacturers and medical centers. Technology doesn’t come just in the form of the personal computer. It comes in the form of many different things. The car manufacturer can carve an engine from a single block of aluminum using technology, and make no mistakes while doing it. Oil manufacturers can asses the best places to drill and have new ways of drilling because of technology. Doctors can operate on patients without even being in the same state because of technology. Not only that, but all of these companies have benefited in other ways from technology. They make fewer mistakes, they hit more goals, their able to make cheaper, better quality products. Technology is not limited to those who sell you your computer or how you search the web, it is a broad net that stretches over your entire life changing the way you drive to the way you shave.
4. Technology as Warfare
Imagine Kennedy making a speech to the American people explaining that our biggest threats may not be nuclear, they may be technological. People would think he’s talking about advanced warplanes or missiles. This isn’t the case. Technological warfare is a very real and scary thing. In some respect, it happens every day, people have their identities stolen. However the far more pernicious kinds are something much worse. From crashing whole economic infrastructures to crashing servers for pertinent information. Anyone can access this kind of technology. With the advent of things like the deep web, governments everywhere need to prepare for the new threat of technological warfare. However, this kind of warfare comes not only from how it can cripple, but from how it can be taken away. From EMP’s that can dismantle a countries economy in seconds. No access to the outside world. Imagine being in the world but not a part of it. This, like most great things, is the price we pay for technology, and there will always be those seeking to keep us safe, against those who wish to do us harm.