Ladies and Gentlemen, We Have a “Big Switch” Upon Us


Our means of receiving software has changed so much over the years. A literal big switch would look a lot like the one above. We have gone from getting into our cars and driving to the nearest Best Buy to bring home a new copy of Microsoft Office to having the means necessary to get any software we need with our greasy hands and a computer. A parallel made by Nicholas Carr, author of The Big Switch, is one of power production. In the olden days, people used waterwheels, windmills, and even their own muscles to produce power. Nowadays, our good friend Electricity does everything we need, thanks to Thomas Edison. It really does make a lot of sense, though. I mean, hobbling into a car and drive a few miles is no big chore compared to operating a steam engine some other physical way to produce a product, but the analogy fits. It could sound absurd but that is because the current generation has never seen life without light switches and computers. Plus, the way in which electricty is produced is a much less vague topic than the various ways to obtain software.

Has this big switch desensitized America? Are we no longer human because we would rather find the exact, most relevant answer to our questions in seconds instead of flipping through a 3000 page book? I think not. Just as the people of past generations have learned to do things such as “Tweet” or “determine the speed of their wireless access point”, this generation will learn to live the way we always as more or less, and take our fast download speeds with us.


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