Technological Development in the Year of My Birth

Just in sight of the third millennium and a set number of years before the impending apocalypse sat the year of 1995. Perhaps the strongest force in society’s journey into the age of information and technology—technology specifically aimed at the general public—it was this year that the dominance of computers skyrocketed. In no exact order, throughout 1995 the DVD was announced, eBay and Yahoo were founded, Hotmail was started, the first wiki was produced, Windows 95 and Internet Explorer were released by Microsoft, USB, Java, and JavaScript were released, the dot-com boom occurred, Amazon.com opened, and the first wholly animated film, Toy Story, was released, setting up the scene for years of technological advancement and competition (“The Year 1995′).

In this 1995 version of the growing world of 5.7 billion people and increasing numbers of gigabytes, like the newly introduced technological conceptions, I, too, was born. Now, my birth obviously was not as world-changing as the technological advancements going on at the time, but it was world-changing to me because, well, I wouldn’t exactly be in the world without having been born, now, would I? Not that my birth really mattered at the time, though, because in less than five years the world was predicted to end in a computer-failure-based form of societal fall.

Such predictions and beliefs—shared by my own aunt and uncle, who were major computer users at the time and continue to be—were silly of course, but I was still raised believing the world would end through computers. Naturally, I do still think that is a possibility—not through a computer failure, of course, but through the likelihood of computers becoming self-aware in a Terminator movie style, but without the aspect of time travel. Despite rumors of computers failing worldwide due to their predicted inability to differentiate between the years 1900 and 2000, with pleasure—or misfortune; take your pick-I, after being thrown chaotically into the world we live in as a mere babe, had to grow up these advancements and conveniences like many of my peers did once the millennium changed and yet another predicted apocalyptic date became irrelevant past.

While my classmates were drowned by the initial flood of video games that overtook the ’90s babies, for instance, I remained untouched by the zombie-state-inducing trances of video games that still plague even today’s kids. Of course, at the time I was jealous of these other kids being permitted to live in the technological world around us while I, living on a farm in the middle of nowhere like Courage the cowardly dog, had to bide my own time playing outside in my own imaginary world rather than the virtual one. Looking back, however, I’m always very thankful that I did not fall in love with the technology around me—I like to think I am better prepared for when society does fall by means of either computer-, nuclear-, or zombie-related measures.

Unfortunately, until said fall of society –which, with any luck, will not actually occur in my lifetime—such gratitude does not always do me well these days. The truth is, we live in a technological world that, admittedly, I am not always up-to-date with. This is awfully problematic because being technologically savvy is necessary to be competent in our culture and society—I mean, I only just learned how to set up one of my email accounts to automatically forward everything to my other email for goodness sakes! So, to correct my ineptness of keeping up with the Kardashians and kilobytes alike, I have, regrettably, become a follower of technological trends.

Despite every attempt to remain unique through the same methods every young individual in first-world countries use these days, I have transformed into yet another example of a classic 1995’s baby: a soul more dependent on social media and Google, god of information, than on a real-life set in real-time. I cannot be blamed, though. My birth year was the turning point between Generation Y, the now young adults who are expected to manage this computer-controlled culture, and Generation Z, the now kids and teenagers who are growing up knowing more about how to operate and navigate the entire worldwide web better than their grandparents know how to change the television from satellite mode to movie mode or maybe only my grandparents are that out-of-date.

As such, the year of my birth, like those around it, left only two options: board the bandwagon or get left behind. No one can get away with the latter, really, so I’ve had to jump on the technology train just like everyone else, despite my distaste. Don’t get me wrong, though! Pessimism is only for show. The fact is, while sometimes I do wish I’d grown up “back in the (perhaps mythological) days” my grandparents and even parents speak of, I am incredibly lucky to have been born when I was. Since 1995 alone, technology has made bigger leaps than any of my growth spurts did.

Yes, much of the technology I’ve had to grow up with is overrated, cliché, or just plain Neanderthal—I, personally, am referring to eight-tenths of social media and nine-tenths of video games, though that may just be the good ole’ fashioned farm boy in me speaking. Despite those unfavorable aspects of technology, basically enslaving us to the computer geniuses and their blueprints that run our little daily lives, the age of information and technology is a blessing. These are the days of faster, more efficient technology and expertise based on its availability.

Everything important to me I can keep on a flash drive, ready to go when I am rather than relying on old fashioned filing cabinets and everything being hand written. Energy sources, medical practices and procedures, transportation, communication-basically everything we need to thrive as a society-benefit from these technological advancements. So, thank you, 1995. Thank you for the push into the next century we now call home and for preluding the direction myself and my life would take while still holding on to your Amazon.com, USB, wikis, and—my personal favorite-introduction of animated movies.

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