4 Ways Technology Changed Our Lives

Smartphones, tablets and other handheld technology we see everywhere today have subtly changed our daily routines and left a huge swath of abandoned practices and equipment in their wake. No longer do we mechanically dial or press buttons, wait more than a few seconds for information or go to a physical printed page to reference information.

Gadgets, early technologies and daily habits have fallen by the wayside because of faster, stronger and better technologies. Here are just a few things we no longer have or use because of new technology.

Paper References

Remember learning how to look up words in the dictionary at the front of the class or find a country on the pull-down map above the blackboard? What about writing down contacts on a card for the Rolodex, keeping track of your week in a day-timer, or using a map on a road trip?

The Internet has made most printed reference materials obsolete since we can just “Google” the question and keep important information in electronic files. Maps on the Internet and the GPS in our phones let us get where we need to go without getting lost. We don’t even have to write down or memorize phone numbers anymore because we can electronically store them. Even Encyclopaedia Britannica stopped printing in 2012 and instead distributes its encyclopedic knowledge and information online.

Wrist Watches and Alarm Clocks

With a smartphone always at hand, there’s not a big need to use wrist watches or alarm clocks. A survey by YouGov about watches and alarms shows that younger people are less likely to own a watch than older people, and they use their cell phones to tell time and to set alarms. And why not, seeing as your alarm won’t be turned off during a black out and you can set as many as you want on one device?

Public Phone Booths

An article in Salon claims that phone booths have been fading away ever since the first cell phones came on the scene in 1973. The article describes how public phone booths have been repurposed into aquariums in Japan and France, into lending libraries and art galleries in New York, into bathrooms in Finland and into homeless shelters in Vancouver. The article also reflects on the public phone booth as a form of sanctuary, which we are losing with the advance of technology.


Although we are still driving our cars, we might not be for long. Forbes discusses how Google’s driverless car will create massive disruption in the auto industry in the near future. This could be especially important to the elderly and the disabled. Google’s driverless car is still in development for city use, but self-driving car technology is already here; for example, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 Coupe has 12 ultrasonic sensors and six cameras embedded in the vehicle that help drivers stay safe and drive better, reports Fortune.

Additionally, a multitude of other features help drivers stay in their lane, be aware of vehicles around them, guard against falling asleep at the wheel, be aware of animals in their oncoming path and park the car. For more about upcoming advances in driving technology, check out the DriveTime Facebook page where they regularly post interesting articles about car-related topics.

About the Author: Heidi Cardenas is a freelance writer with a background in human resources, business administration, technical writing and corporate communications. She specializes in human resources, business and personal finance, small business advice and home improvement.