Thursday, February 16, 2006

Age of Insecurity?

Check out The Record's Life Section today for an article that could have been written about me. Linton Weeks, from the Washington Post, writes about the Age of Insecurity in which many of us technophiles lug around bags and devices, supposedly because we are insecure and poor.

"If wealth is judged by freedom and freedom is the state of being unencumbered, then we are a poor and burdened people."

Not a flattering interpretation! Personally, although I have to admit I don't relish carrying so many things with me daily, I think his interpretation is unnecessarily cynical. Yes, maybe there are times when my head is down when walking and reading my PDA when it should be up and avoiding fork lift operators, and yes, maybe there are times when too much is too much...but, there are other, less cynical ways of looking at this.

I carry a phone and a Pocket PC with me whenever possible. I do so for the convenience and empowerment, not because I'm least not completely insecure. Really, it's a continuum. Devices that empower will also leave you feeling less resourceful when you don't have them handy. But which is more important, the empowerment or the feelings of missing something when the device isn't handy?

Case in point - recently I had to purchase a prescription to ease pain related to my cancer treatment. When I arrived, I was told by the pharmacist that no order had been received from the cancer centre. By the time I had arrived, the cancer centre was closed for the weekend. If I didn't have my cellphone with me, I would have had to return home, looked up the number for the on-call oncologist, placed the call from a land line, driven back to the pharmacy, and picked up my much-needed drug. As it was, I called the oncologist and had the prescription in my hand within a few minutes, all because I was empowered and made more resourceful because of that device.

Here's what I think. We just need implants - we need to become Borg...resistance is futile!

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