Technology-a helping hand or a suffocating grip?

Last week I found myself in a late-night conversation with my housemate about our reliance on technology. I was working on college assignments and a few other pieces of work. Very quickly I was out of my chair and in search of my external hard-drive.

We like to think we’re luckier than our parents, with easy access to the world on a 24/7 basis. We rarely have to write by hand and can share information with anyone, anywhere and at any time if we wish. It’s all great until you think about the darker side of technological advances.

Where previous generations might have kept hard copies of everything, from phone numbers to photos, we now keep everything on laptops, phones or whatever Apple product is the new fad. And when someone sits you down and explains that one rogue email is all it takes to lose everything on your computer, you really do start to panic.

After the moment of initial panic, I plugged in my hard-drive and started the backup process. 220GB, 900,000 files: this is how much information I had failed to backup in the past year.

Research, college work, photos, videos, and an iTunes library of almost 2,600 tracks, I couldn’t afford to lose any of it.

The question then remains, do we really have it better than our parents? They had hard copies of everything that meant something to them. We don’t. We don’t even think of it most of the time. It’s enough for us to just have it all in front of us.

Even with the use of external hard-drives and the ever-popular cloud-storage, we still don’t really have hard-copies of everything. What we have is another area to store something artificially. What if the external hard-drive is stolen or fails? What if you can’t access your cloud account or that system fails due a hacker with nothing better to do?

Does this now mean we should print all of our photos for example? With over 8,500 photos, this is also an option I don’t relish.

My solution, the only one I can seem to bring sense to, is to store everything everywhere.

Back-up everything on external hard-drives, store everything in your cloud storage, keep it all on multiple computers if you have the ability and resources to do so. And for those little things that are few and far between, and mean a great deal to you, maybe consider getting it on hard-copy, especially in the case of photos.

We may be able to type faster than our parents, access content they can only dream of, and have news whenever we want it. We need to remember though that at any moment we could open a virus through our emails and lose so much of what is important and meaningful to us.

Our parents did indeed live in a simpler time. Whether that time was better or not is up to the reader to decide.

Follow Tomas here: @TomasJHeneghan