Technology is there to help

Have you ever wondered why we use technology? From all things great to all things that are very small, technology at its heart makes life easier, improves the way we do things, or gives us entirely new abilities.

Monday, 22nd August 2016, 8:10 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:37 am
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

Take a moment to think about it. Technology has put us in instant contact with the whole world, it has extended our lives, given us radio, TV and film. It has improved transport, given us the ability to fly and even to go all the way to the moon and back. One day it will send us to other planets and star systems. We understand more than ever before and can do more than ever before.

Last week I mentioned how we are now able to carry a whole heap of sensors in our pockets, which are helping us to gather data at an incredible rate to help inform us on the decisions we make and the impact they have on the environment.

Think about how emails, instant messaging and social media have improved communication. Teams of people are able to share information and expertise over a wide range of subjects with ease. This has helped scientists and artists collaborate from other sides of the planet and ushered in a new era of discovery and creativity.

Those are the big things, the sharing of knowledge and the OpenSource movement, but as I said technology is about the smaller scale things too. They matter as much, or maybe even more in many cases.

After discovering her late husband had written his memoirs and hidden them in a cupboard, a Henley widow decided they should be published. Everything had been printed and nothing was kept digitally. However, she was able to scan in each and every page and convert it all to editable text, which she could then collaborate on with others. You can read about the journey from concept to completion here. for instance the story of Dr Gary Sharpe. I have never met him in person, but have spoken to him on numerous occasions online. Gary has been collaborating with a lady from across the pond on a series called Out-Thinking Parkinson’s. She has helped him immensely in overcoming the hurdles the disease has thrown at him and despite never having met in person, they have published a book together! It really is a story of hope, but don’t take my word for it, you can read Gary’s words instead. doesn’t just improve communication and collaboration over long distances, sometimes closer to home is just as important. Take the app called Jointly as an example. Created by the charity Carers UK, the app allows all of a person’s carers to share important information with each other. They can not only send each other messages, but can set appointments, allocate tasks, manage medication and critically, it allows them to provide better care. You can find out more about the app at