Tuesday, November 8, 2011

My Life A.I. - After (the Creation of the) Internet

Can anyone remember life before the Internet? It really is not that far in the past, but I sometimes wonder how we survived and thrived. I realize it is a ridiculous notion, but my life currently seems to revolve around the computer, and I know it is the same for a lot of working and non-working adults of all ages.

My part-time income nowadays relies on the Internet. As a freelance writer my pieces are posted on websites. I owe a lot to the Internet; after leaving my financial career, I decided freelance writing would be my next profession. I had no portfolio or credentials. The Internet offered a navigable route that has allowed me to create a portfolio, establish credentials and experience and provided a part-time income.

The Internet is not only utilized for work. I have reconnected with friends not seen or heard from in decades via Facebook. I am not a true Facebook fan – I do not post stuff, but look at pictures of the grandkids and have sought out old friends from school and other connections.

The ability to look up just about anything and have that knowledge at our fingertips still astounds me. And the information is usually up-to-date. The accuracy cannot, and should not necessarily be accepted unquestionably. I cringe when people without a second thought believe what they read because it must be so since it is written down – on the Internet…

Then there is Skype, that wonderful tool where I can video-visit the grandkids living hundreds and thousands of miles away. I can watch my grandson read Good Night, Moon to his youngest sister, and I can witness him and the middle child fight for camera-time. I can see my newest grandchild, just three months, sitting on her parent’s lap, eyes wide open, making baby sounds.

On cold winter days I do not have to leave my warm house, yet can visit with cyber friends, old acquaintances, and friends living next door, across the country or anywhere in the world. Then there are the more mundane activities such as paying bills, reading junk emails and catching up on the news.

I believe the Internet will be a boon to older retirees, their caretakers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Many older folks today are not computer and internet-savvy. But more and more are logging on everyday; my 86-year-old mother uses e-mail, makes plane reservations online, creates all her greeting cards on the computer and recently joined Facebook to see her great-grandchildren’s pictures.

We of the boomer generation will move into our elderly years with computer or other internet-connected device in hand. We will sit in big, comfortable chairs or wheelchairs and, although limited in movement within our immediate environment, remain connected to the outside world. That may be the greatest gift modern technology bestows upon us.