To say that technology has changed our lives would be an understatement. But today I was thinking about just one aspect of it, i.e. the need to memorize a large number of passwords and pin codes.
When I was in school, even in university, the concept of passwords was fairly novel to me. At max, I had to memorize 2 or maybe 3 passwords, mainly to operate my email or to log on to university computer system. Today, the number of passwords, codes, and pins that I have to remember to open, operate or even look at things is mind-boggling. Here’s a short list of such things:
Office email password
Office user ID password
Personal email password – Yahoo Mail (yep I am old school)
Personal laptop password
Credit Card pin (thankfully I have only 1 credit card)
My wife’s credit card pin (don’t know why I remember it
Skype password (I hardly use it, and tend to forget it often)
Mobile phone password
Internet banking password
DEWA password (electricity and water online billing)
Home wifi password
Road tax billing (Salik) Pin
Phone banking pin
There are more, but let’s not go into everything here
And here’s the interesting part. All of these passwords / PINs are different. I do not use one password for two things. And all of these are (except for pins) around 12 characters long, using alpha-numeric combinations. And as any cyber security person would advise you, I do not write these passwords down anywhere.
This got me thinking. What if for some reason (God forbid), I suddenly lose memory of all these passwords. Just the passwords, nothing else. It may deeply impact my ability to function as a human being . This is true for a lot of people like me. Our world today is connected with a string of virtual, somewhat secure, but strangely effervescent bits, all in an invisible web.
This is not to say that technology has made our lives complex. Quite the opposite really. With all these passwords and pins, I am able to save a lot of time and hardship that people in 90s could hardly imagine. All that I have to do is to remember all these alphanumeric figures that open the portals I need to get things done. Like mysterious words such as “khul ja sim sim”; and the job gets done.
Thankfully, some things in life have not changed. And may never change. The ability to enjoy the “real” things in life, still does not require us to memorize a bunch of codes. I don’t need a password to be able to kiss my daughter. To have a nice cup of tea with my wife in a chilled winter evening, does not require a pin code. A stroll in the park, a dash in the jogging track, an intriguing movie at night, looking at a masterpiece of art, reading a good book, and various other such demeanors of life, do not require any secret code, or log-in credentials.
So maybe life hasn’t changed that much. It has only transformed in those aspects where the human race continues to be in a transition mode. Fading of one technology making room for the other, which would surely fade away soon to make room for yet another. But the most natural, the real avenues of life, our core tasks, remain unchanged.
The nature itself, remains as natural as it was thousands of year ago. Uninterrupted by any new way of life, unmoved by any new need to secure, save, open or operate the virtual domains. And thank God for that.