The perils and conveniences of modern life

I woke up in the morning to no running water from the taps and I knew that I have frozen pipes. “Oh no!” I thought, “if only I had stored water to brush my teeth!”

A familiar picture crossed my mind. Growing up, my family and other families in my neighborhood in India did not have running water. We had taps which were connected to the town’s water supply. Water was delivered once in the morning and once in the afternoon except in summer when it was delivered only once or sometimes even alternate days.  We filled up every vessel and an open concrete tank with water during the precious water delivery time. Sometimes they forgot to turn off the supply at the allotted time and we would get some extra water and a very happy mother. In the end, we knew that is our total reserve and we would have to manage it somehow.

In the morning, after some struggle with the heating system, I figured out how to heat the pipes and melt the ice. Hurray! I had running water again.  Before leaving for work, I asked Oishi to make sure that the thermostat doesn’t go below a certain temperature because it was very cold outside. My super-smart, artificially intelligent thermostat from Nest had learnt that I am not home in the morning and thus happily brings down the temperature to save energy.

After a few minutes Oishi texted me, “Who is going to stand in front of the thermostat and monitor the thermostat? So I found an app that will notify me when the temperature drops below a certain point.”

I shook my head, “Really? What’s next?”

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We live in a better world today

I like technology. No, let me rephrase. I love technology. Not simply using it, but creating it. Being a technologist gives me the rare opportunity of giving life to new ideas. And I cherish that.

I love that it provides a continuous source of learning which emerges from endless curiosity. I love that it makes our lives easier and more comfortable. I love that when boredom from doing the same work so much as glances at me, a new technology emerges and I sit up straight with new energy. A couple of months ago, I got access to a new suite of software at work and I texted Oishi, “Oh my God, mama! You wouldn’t believe what kind of software I have access to now.” She wrote back, “Gee, mama! You are such a geek!”

Everyone knows that microwaves, cell phones, washing machines and dishwashers, all gifts of technology, are great additions to our everyday life. But that’s not the only reason I think technology has made the world a better place to live in. We live in a superior world because we like to share and technology has made sharing a universal event.

Recently, while looking for online tutorials, I found a website, http://www.coursera.org, which is an organization where many universities come together to teach online courses for free. Yes, for free. I signed up for a course, being taught by Vanderbilt University professors, which will be extremely beneficial for my work.

The act of giving, not just to friends and family but to people unbeknownst to us, makes life more meaningful for us and gives us a higher purpose. And technology unequivocally makes it cooler!

Sharmistha’s Book