As you’ll recall, the in-laws are traveling half way around the world. We’ve been using iPads and Facetime to stay in touch. Nothing special there.
What is special is how my toddler has adapted to the concept and is now gleefully interacting with his grandparents on this slate of metal and glass, separated by thousands of kilometers, yet linked by electrons. He somehow makes the difference between the full interactivity offered by this service and that of regular television. He clearly does not believe that these are pre-recorded messages. His young mind has adapted to this unbelievable technology and has already begun making effective use of it.
I can barely comprehend the progression of technology since my grandfather was born a little over 99 years ago. When he was my son’s age, he had no electricity, used horses to get around, and aircraft were in their primitive infancy. Five scant decades later, we were walking on the Moon. He even learned how to use the internet and send email. When he passed away this summer, I could hold a computer in the palm of my hand which would have been inconceivably powerful to the scientists plumbing the leading edge of science and technology when he was my age. It would have been considered pure magic.
As I watch my son smile and blow kisses to his grandparents half a world away, I cannot begin to imagine what technology will be like by the time he reaches his great grandfather’s age. It will no doubt be magical, and if engineers, designers, programmers, and the host of highly-talented people who lend their hand to moving the world forward do their jobs right, my toddler-as-an-old-man will continue to assimilate and use that technology as seamlessly as he is now.
If only we could resolve that niggling issue of climate change to ensure that everyone is still happy and healthy enough to enjoy it by then.