The Digital State We Are In

by Joan Stewart

Winner of the 2006-07 PWG Best Article Competition


Most people would readily agree that, above all else, these are digital days. We are awakened each morning by a bedside radio which can switch itself on and off at any time we choose. Our telephone automatically records messages left by those who phoned while we were unavailable. Television and radio news, beamed almost instantly from all parts of the world, accompanies our breakfast. On the street, the majority of those we walk beside are constantly speaking or texting, using their mobile phones. Our cars give us precise directions to previously unknown destinations via satellite navigation. At work, at home, at play, much of our lives are dictated by computer or other digital controls.

All of this is delivered by electrical impulses. Originally these impulses travelled down wires - communication cables which were progressively laid between the countries of the world. Nowadays the wires and cables have become less important and we use satellites orbiting the earth without fully being aware of the technological advances involved. As a result we now deal in digits rather than radio waves. These rapid, programmable, communication systems have become so much an integral part of everyday life that we take them for granted. Routinely we send messages, and new reports at the touch of a button or the click of a mouse.

page 1 of 5