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BlogSpot: The Magic of Technology

Jenny Hunt

About the author

Jenny Hunt Jenny is an IT consultant at IBM, currently working on the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) project. Jenny returned to IBM in the summer of 2012 after completing a year in industry there during her degree. IBM has provided her with the opportunity to apply the skills learnt from studying Management and IT at Lancaster University.

It was the science fiction writer, Arthur C Clarke, who wrote back in the early 1960s "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." What would the technology we use today look like to someone from that period, I wonder?

Some things that we take for granted were around then, just improved upon or more prevalent. Television was well established, so someone from the early 1960s would be able to recognise a 42 inch HD television as a television. He or she might be amazed by the quality and size, but it's still a television so it would likely come across as stunning but not magic.

Other technological devices, though, might very well seem a little magical to such a displaced individual. Instant, personal communications available everywhere from a device that also delivers news, orders pizza and talks to you to let you know where your friends are now would sure leave someone from the 1960s open mouthed. I'm typing this on a laptop computer. You probably don't know anyone who doesn't own one. Back then, computers filled whole rooms and the lights in local towns used to dim when they were turned on - and they certainly weren't at the beck and call of "the common man". They didn't even have calculators. Calculators didn't become readily available for another 15 years or so and were the size of a small brick. The same kind of shape too.

In both my work and private lives, I wouldn't want to manage without my little bits of magic. Social networking, for example, allows me to co-ordinate with my work colleagues and also keep in touch with my friends and family who are now scattered around the country and beyond. Without it, work would be harder and I'd be likely to lose contact with people who matter to me. Someone from the 1960s might question whether our lives have been enhanced by our technological advances - and I understand that - but I like my pace of life and the sheer variety of options that technology has opened up for me compared with my 1960s counterpart.

Technology or magic, it works for me.

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Thu 31 January 2013