Social relations and technology: two decades of history
Cars that travel without a driver, self-supplying refrigerators, 5G and transplants with customised organs. Some really complex technologies are just around the corner; they sound close already and in some cases they are as familiar as if they were already part of daily life.
Technological progress is so fast that time seems even more elastic, and accommodates new ideas and spectacular creations that build up in a short time, and which in the past would have come much more spaced.
Innovation takes a fast and happy pace to which we adapt with enthusiasm, thanks to the surprise of enjoying some exciting novelty every day. Nothing to do with the past. Who would think today that just over two decades ago the first Tamagotchi was born? That was the future and coexisted with the premiere of Titanic and with the launch of the new Volkswagen Beetle, and the first Peugeot 205. Sometimes, twenty years seem fifty, and the most important thing of evolution is precisely that which is not seen: that which is so settled that is no longer even perceived.
Beyond things, the environment and the tangible, the real invisible revolution is the one that has played a leading role in the relations between people. Have you not stopped to think about it? Here are six reasons for doing so.
The face to the face
Speaking eternally to people, and not just on the phone. Who would say that the pager was the latest thing and it seemed incredible that a beep sounded when someone called. Only the most nostalgic will have it in their memory and, perhaps, in their memory drawer. From the beep-beep we passed to text messages and from there to another very distant galaxy, with the arrival of WhatsApp.
Because the miracle, apart from not paying for sending and receiving unlimited messages, is that anyone you can imagine uses the same app as the basis of their electronic communication. Barriers of all kinds disappear.
Invisible forums. The magic of that cork board plagued with thumbtacks with messages, photos, cuttings and notes disappeared little by little. Everything that could be posted there found a space on the Internet, and not only that: it found a vast public, easy to contact, visible and permanently active. Facebook helped impose social networks over cork boards: that is a relational evolution.
"It is impossible to ignore the magic and power of the digital alternative"
More than friends
Love à la carte. Or romance, sex, drinks in a bar, stable relationships or whatever you want to find. The thing about the cocktail in the bar with the pink neon light and the unexpected suitor who pays for the next drink is strongly punished by statistics.
Dozens of mobile applications (low profile Tinder, Happn for those close, Lovoo for singles, Pure for direct, Ashley Madison for those married and Grindr for people of the same sex) allow you to connect with people like-minded, select, close, secret or practically whatever you might be looking for; and for each one, there are dozens of specialised companies, applications and ways to generate that avatar of oneself with which to launch into personal marketing and sell yourself while looking for exactly what you want to find.
For short or long trips, direct or en route. Who said that travelling by car is private transportation? Numerous websites and mobile applications (Amovens.com, blablacar.es, compartocoche.com) allow you to plan trips in common, sharing your own car with a small economic incentive, or travelling as a co-pilot with someone for a small fee. In minutes the route is prepared and electronic contact is made with new travel companions who coincide over the destination or at least some point along the way. Great friendships are born fortuitously on the road.
One step further is that involving vehicles of shared use that proliferate in large cities, and which in addition to lowering costs and allowing one to live without cars, and which are usually electrical, thus contributing to cleaning the air and common space that is so scarce. From here to the free bike.
Be your own travel agency
Hotels for each trip. That friend who always sent us to the best hotel now probably comes in the form of a search engine. The prescriber writes opinions on websites and marks with stars, points or whatever applies to the option to be assessed.
The best thing is not only the possibility of planning the trip to the finest detail, entering the accommodation that is going to be booked virtually or having millimetric maps. Even better is the convenience of cancelling the majority of the reservations made with a click of the mouse, if luck fails and the trip is cancelled; or if it wakes up and sharpens, with the finding of other even more interesting alternative places to stay. The alternatives come in droves: booking.com; amoma.com; tripadvisor.es; kayak.es ...
And staying in strategic places. Because, of course, if you do not go out into the streets to find a hotel, you no longer even go out to hand out sheets with the experience typed.
The search is neither restricted to the newspaper, circling the selected offer like in the movies, nor looking for a sheet in situ.
The job search market is so developed in the online environment that it is almost unthinkable to look for a job without registering on a specialised website. Companies have a large market of candidates, and the candidates choose from a wide offer concentrated in closed forums. The relationship that is established between employee and employer is born with a cold click but allows as complete and as deep a level of knowledge of the other as several personal interviews or old ones by telephone.
Life is the same, as one would say, but it is impossible to ignore the magic and power of the digital alternative. Choosing is a very unlimited possibility now for anyone with a data connection. Does it nullify real life? Of course not. The art of living now lies in masterfully combining the on and offline resources that daily life gives ever more frequently.