I distinctly remember the first time someone, my mother to be exact, asked me what I wanted to do when I was all grown up. I also clearly remember the answer: I wanted to become a wizard.
My mother, of course asked me if I meant a magician but no, I was quite certain that I wanted to become a wizard. Of course, I also had a nagging suspicion it wasn’t going to work out, knowing the scarcity of wizards inhabiting the world.
After giving it some thought, I settled on wanting to be an inventor. Coupled with my interest in electronics, I decided that that’s where my future would lie.
That was, until I got my first PC. A Tulip brand with dual 5.25 inch floppies and I then saw that in the world of technology is where the real magic lies.
Technology is magical
Of course, PC’s were a bit simpler back then. The traces on the motherboard were thick enough you could repair them yourself if they somehow got damaged. The games I played had a maximum of four colours on the screen at a time. The sound consisted mainly of blips and bloops from the internal PC speaker. And you could trash your hard-drive by not issuing the “PARK” command before shutting it down. Something I admit to having learned the hard way.
They were simpler machines with simpler software, not unlike the current IoT wave of cheap devices with limited capabilities. A perfect blend between hardware and software.
But for me, they were absolutely magical. By issuing a simple command the machine would obey and change reality. Nothing underlined that more than the adventure games of the time which were driven completely by text commands, with Kings Quest 3 being the first of many I played. Incidentally, that’s how I learned to write English long before I enrolled myself toEnglish language classes. Me, the game and a dictionary on my lap to figure out what command to issue next.
Technology is the future
After working in the field of IT for some years, that sense of wonderment has never left me. I’ve seen colleagues leave the field after being disillusioned by projects with impossible deadlines and a shoe-string budget. Customers that seemingly change their mind the moment the code is done. And the ever-changing requirements of projects.
But for me that is where the magic happens. Without these obstacles, I doubt we’d ever manage to really create magic. You only need to look at what’s happening in the world of technology today: self-driving cars, useable AI on a device that fits in your pocket and a connected world where things, both mechanical and biological, needn’t break down but can be repaired before they fail.
But for me that’s not the whole story, for me technology is also about being human. Humans are inherently a communicative species; we just love to talk to one another. And now we have working holographic technology, universal translators and global communication networks. Connecting the whole world, breaking down barriers, helping the environment and generally making it a better place to live in.
All this used to be the stuff of science fiction and today we’ve taken the first steps to science fact. Who knows what tomorrow brings? I have no idea, but I can’t wait to see what it brings when it arrives.