12 June 2008

The five ages of technology

The second TFPL Connect event was titled "The future of work - technology" and looked at how technology will impact the how, when and where of work in the future.

As usual for me, the learning points from the event will slowly simmer with everything else that I have learnt to form unexpected relationships that bubble to the surface years later to provide useful insights to a specific issue that I am working on.

The two notes to myself that I made during the event are the result of the same process.

In my working life I have gone through four ages of technology and can see that we are entering a fifth:
  1. No technology; my career in IT started by writing programs on paper
  2. Work technology; I had computers in the office to do basic tasks like word processing and to run applications like time recording
  3. Work technology at home; I got a PC to do the sort of things at home that I did at work, e.g. write letters and send emails
  4. Home technology; now I use more technology at home than I do at work with sophisticated web applications (Facebook, Blogger, etc.) and cool hardware like my iPod touch.
  5. Home technology at work; people increasingly want to use the tools they use at home to communicate and collaborate at work where the current tools are (generally) much less effective.
The other note was quite different and was about choice. We increasingly have more choice over when we work, where we work and how we work (e.g. face-to-face, email, IM, voice, etc. etc.) and we need to think carefully about what is best for any given situation but we also need to respect people who have made different, but equally valid, choices.

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