August 19, 2023
Imagine life in the 1990’s. You hear your mom from the living room, “Get off the computer, I need to use the phone.” If you are old enough to remember, your family may have just gotten a computer in your home. We used dial up internet, meaning that our phone lines were busy all the time! And, if you were a part of this generation, I am sure you can hear the America Online Instant Messenger logging in. “You’ve got mail.” Prior to having a computer, we had a typewriter that was too much fun. Insert paper and see instantaneous results of ink on paper, but don’t make a mistake! We grew up in an era where submitting a hand written report to your teacher was not only acceptable and appropriate, but ‘grade A’ material. When we did get a computer, it was so big. It had a huge rounded monitor. The printer was something that can’t be forgotten. I can hear that sound it made as it printed line by line. How about that paper that went into the printer? Each sheet was perforated with sides that had to be carefully removed. In school, computer class was sure to offer the chance to play the Oregon Trail where everyone died of Dysentery by the end of class. We had large floppy disks that saved our work. There were no flash drives and the cloud did not exist. There were no cell phones, certainly no hotspots, and the idea of an Apple Watch was something from a Science Fiction movie.
Fast forward to present day and rather than chatting online with friends or looking up the life cycle of a butterfly for your school report, we are now able to actually make and earn money online in so many ways. Who would have thought? The metaverse is unfolding before our very eyes. Events of present day were unimaginable to those of us in our 30’s and beyond when we were youth. The evolution of high speed internet has created changes in our lives. The pandemic proved that so many jobs in todays world are able to pivot to completely online status. Here is a small sampling of career choices that have made the transition over the decades to be able to have remote capabilities!
1. Teachers! If someone would have told me in the 1990’s that snow days would become flexible instruction days and that we would see our elementary children having an interactive classroom experience while at home via Zoom, I may not have believed you. Let’s pivot to higher education. College professors have had access to teach classes online for a number of years. Students are able to gain Bachelor, Master, and even Doctorate degrees entirely online without ever setting foot in a classroom.
2. Doctors and nurses! We now do not have to actually go to the doctor’s office to seek treatment. We can log into the computer, tell the doctor online our signs and symptoms, and then be prescribed appropriate medications without ever leaving the comfort of our home. This service of online healthcare extends to the sickest patients. For example, an intensive care doctor can get an online position in a virtual unit where he is able to camera in to assess the patient and provide medical orders to staff while he is in a different state. A virtual nurse is able to see vital signs and triage phone calls online. There are many behind the scenes positions for healthcare workers that are entirely work from home.
3. Specialists! A child who needs speech therapy can have 1:1 interactive online sessions from their bedroom. Even very small children can access the virtual world. By using fun interactive games, the speech therapist can assess and improve language without ever being in direct contact with the learner.
4. Graphic Designer! These individuals are subject matter experts in programs like photoshop and Adobe Creative Suite applications. They create masterpieces using digital programs. They can optimize web designs and use their services to assist in marketing or product creation plus so much more.
5. Video game designer/developer! The digital world is evolving beyond comprehension. Games now exist that are actual online communities- World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Roblox, Call of Duty, just to name a few. Gamers are able to have a completely interactive experience without leaving their loving room. The designers and developers have made video games so detailed and captivating plus added the social aspect that video games are transitioning to an entirely immersive experience.
We can only imagine where our technological advancements will take us in the next 30 years- will all homes come with chef robots to do the cooking and cleaning? Will the concept of going to work become near obsolete? Will all vehicles drive themselves? Will computer keyboards be a thing of the past? Is it possible that you will have a device to insert in your ear and you will automatically understand all languages? The possibilities are endless. What a fortunate time to live!