Past, Present, and Future Technologies: Interview: Rachel Lentz

Digital cassette tape music converter. Photo by Rachel Lentz, August 2018.

Technology seems like the focus of our industrial age. Buildings get higher, devices smaller, and simple aspects of life more complex. “Soonish” describes the formula for how our world developed into what it has and explores the practicalities of advancing technology. Its main point is how the development and use of technologies is usually built on a foundation of former technology, funding, and physical infrastructure. The authors delve into how these systems might be put into place to develop the feats of science fiction we all hope and dream of.

Technology itself is defined as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes. However, when it comes to acquiring knowledge, it can be a little bit less “practical”. The transfer of knowledge and learning is not something that only can be confined to books or the classroom. Knowledge is passed down several ways, and one of these ways is through oral history. In applications of science, oral history can give a perspective of where we are, motivation for moving forward, and inspire creative solutions to old problems. This applies even more in the coming years as technology develops, and so should our knowledge of the world and the people in it. “Soonish” talks about how a foundation is needed for large new innovations to develop. Oral history helps provide a unique part of this foundation that is newly emerging. The collection of the stories of regular people provide the human information and drive that could make the future tech and explains for present.

To combine our discussion of technology and oral tradition I would like to interview my father. Our discussion would focus on the technology of transportation, and the theme would be change over time. I would like to discuss the surprising way that he has seen the world change from his childhood and have him discuss the implications for future technologies, especially in travel and transportation/vehicles. The picture included in this post is how an older model cars technology was adapted for current use as a cassette tape is converted for digital use. This is important as it show how the technology has changed in vehicles in just a few years and also how it can be adapted. The discourse on self-driving vehicle could be discussed as well, including issues of clean energy/electric vehicles, and how involved tech already is in vehicles. We could also discuss GPS, communication between vehicles, and much more.

This discussion would hopefully also go into the advancement and adaptation of technology we have seen. The use of old structure in the employment of new technologies and for different infrastructure is a interesting topic that could be breached. Oral history is one of the best ways to learn of this change over time from a personal perspective and develop a clearer view of what the world was and how it might change.

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