TheWife™ and I had an excuse to escape her hometown for a couple of days when an old classmate of hers announced that she would be in Newold City for a couple of days. This presented us with a chance to hang out at the School U campus and hopefully find out where we would be living.
Alice and Howard also live on Campus, and naturally, we also spent some time with them as well. Howard has lived in Newold City for about eight years. During that time, he’s witnessed the city change dramatically. I couldn’t help but reflect on how backward Newold was back in 2003, and how they seem to have leapfrogged Canada over the span of 14 years– at least in the acceptance and usage of personal tech. When I arrived in Newold in 2003, many people here were afraid of the technology that was beginning to surround them. In particular, and to what suited me just fine, the locals avoided ATMs like the plague. Teller windows would be crowded (queueing still wasn’t a thing here) while the solitary bank machine would sulk in its loneliness and despair, knowing that it was a tool without a use. Except for me. And any other foreigners in the area.
When we began coming for visits every couple of years, we witnessed the adoption of personal devices into day-to-day commerce. Waitstaff would be using tablets or smart phones to take orders. Reverse cameras in vehicles seemed to become standard at a much faster pace than back home. With the introduction of large screen smart phones, more and more people were dropping laptop and desktop computers as they had become an added expense that wasn’t needed. Today, mobile payments are everywhere. Alipay seems to have won the hearts of major government and industry, while WeChat wallet serves small business and other smaller enterprises. I can’t speak for the U.S., but Apple Pay is probably the largest of the mobile payment platforms, although I’d argue that individual corporate apps such as the Starbucks app probably have far more traction.
Unfortunately, social graces have a difficult time keeping up with technological advances. There has certainly been some progress, but it will likely be a generation or two before it catches up.