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Out of technology?

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by Michael Rabenstein & Karin Schaumberger, EMPORIA

Technology is advancing every day – not only in terms of what is possible, but also on what part it becomes of everyday live. One area of technology in where it affects all of us, is our communication and our interaction with society. Revolutions in this field happen more and more frequently. Just think from telegraph to telephone to fax to mobile phone to smartphone to glasses and other wearables. The intervals become shorter and the devices more complex. This is far from over. “How to use?” and “Whom to ask?” become central questions -especially for older and/or less digital people.
Many have grown up with landlines and TV remote controls and been in contact with the digital world only as part of their professional life, with mobile communication only touching them briefly or not at all. They are as a matter of fact already excluded from a lot of areas of modern communication already. How to support them? How to get them connected?

And what about us? Today’s generation of 30 to 40 is happy in knowing that they are up to speed with technology. We all have our computers, tablets, smartphones. Once we grow older, we will surely be able to use them, like we are now, won’t we? This line of thought is fundamentally wrong. Not only does it not consider the physical and mental changes we all go through while growing older. It is based on the thought that technology and invention stops. Just because we are used to smartphones and tablets now, does not mean that we can continue to use them in the same way the next 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. Nobody can say what will be state of the art and most recent technology 2050.

Technology is evolving, sometimes faster than we are. Even today there is only a small percentage of highly involved digitals that use and understand it all. The larger group is only using parts, casting aside what they don’t want or understand.
Yet technology offers a wide range of possibilities to benefit or everyday lives, making it easier and bringing people together. But how can we make sure the benefits of technology are and keep being accessible to all?
The solution can only lie in usability and offering access to mobile communication, not on the terms of the device or technology, but on the terms of the user.