Growing up in silicon valley, technology has been so ubiquitous that I never really noticed it. Of course there's an app for that. Graphics quality, processing speed, communications applications all gained momentum throughout my childhood, buzzing in the background at school and home. I don't remember getting my first laptop of my own, or my first cell phone. I don't remember switching to cordless phones, to mp3s, to digital streaming. And yet, without my noticing, the world catapulted forward.
It's actually a semester with DSO that began to open my eyes to the possibilities of our time. Before DSO I had used personal cloud storage. I had used Facebook and Twitter to communicate socially with my friends. I had used Skype to talk to my sister when we were in different cities. For all my experience, I had never delved into the potential of the internet for collaboration; accessing a drive as a team, organizing meetings in a digital workspace and connecting our online presence to face-to-face interactions is mind blowing.
Collaboration is the name of the internet game. Just a few years ago, to suggest that a team, separated by miles, look at a document together, drafting and seeing those edits real time? Ludicrous! Pipe dream! Future mumbo-jumbo.
I can't help but be reminded of the excitement I experienced as a child watching the Back to the Future series. A hoverboard?! I remember exclaiming to my mother, We'll know we're in the future when we have hoverboards! Alas, while I lack a hover device, I would much prefer a future in which work I do in my Georgetown dorm can instantly contribute to a project in India. Luckily for everyone, that future is now!
The question remains: how to give every person access to the possibilities of our time?
Contributed by Ellen Singer