Gadgets, Gizmos and the Wiz-Bang Kids

Aug 14, 2014 | Random

Star Trek.

To boldly go where no man has gone before. What a cool concept, and what a great show that was. I spent so much of my childhood thinking about the adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise, about space, the final frontier, and about the technology it took to take them there. Who cares if the walls shook a little when the door to the bridge opened? I was oblivious to the overwhelming ineptitude with which William Shatner played Captain Kirk and with the fact that Klingons were spray-painted human beings with mildly weird eyebrows and facial hair. It was space exploration, by Jove! It was a visual representation of the wonderment heretofore present only in my mind’s eye.

Then came Star Wars, which blew away anything I had ever seen before. I would love to tell you that I saw it the first time it came to our local theater, that I stood breathlessly in line awaiting the marvelous ticket that would take me on the greatest adventure of my young life.

I would love to tell you that, but all liars will have their portion of hellfire: my mother wouldn’t let us go. All I got was a Storm Trooper trading card that came in a box of cereal. After months of constant begging, pleading and prayer, I FINALLY got to see it at the local drive-in when it made its second or third round through Portales. It blew me away. I still remember sitting, totally mesmerized, in the back seat on the right-hand side of a 1971 Plymouth Satellite as Luke and Han battled the forces of the Empire. It was so life-like, so real. I fantasized about having a lightsaber and about all the cool things I could do with one. (Actually, I still fantasize about having one . A real lightsaber. I could do really cool things if I had a real lightsaber.)

It continues to fascinate me how much technology in the real world advanced between Star Trek and Star Wars. The difference between the two, from a special effects standpoint, is night-and-day. Granted, Star Trek was made for TV and Star Wars had a movie studio (and the vision and genius of George Lucas) behind it, but I don’t discount the fact Star Trek debuted in 1966 and Star Wars in 1977. A lot can happen in 11 years. 11 years ago, Bill Clinton was our President, the Twin Towers still stood, and Justin Bieber was annoying his fellow preschoolers instead of the entire civilized world.

The rapid proliferation of technology can be explained, in part, by Moore’s Law. Gordon Moore co-founded Intel and stated that transistors on computer chip would double every 2 years, perpetually and exponentially increasing processing capacity. Simplified, Moore’s Law states that technology will double every two years. Decades later, his statement has been proven time and time again. Human vision now has access to ever-increasing capacity to make ideas realities.

We truly live in extraordinary times.

So many of the gadgets that were science fiction when I was a child are now actual tools used every day, albeit in somewhat different forms. While we don’t have the ability to set phasers and blasters to “stun”, anyone can purchase a taser powerful enough to render an NFL lineman completely helpless. They don’t yet have the range of the aforementioned gizmos (and we don’t get to see to cool blue circles firing out of the barrel), but they are every bit as effective.

Remember the final scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when a surgeon droid fitted Luke Skywalker with a robotic hand? Science fiction then. Medical science now. Mechanical arms, legs, even hearts have gone from the wildest imaginations of mankind to a tangible, prevalent reality. Double-amputees are running sprints and marathons, and it is just a matter of time before we see people once resigned to wheelchairs and respirators playing professional sports.

We truly live in extraordinary times.

But you need not have an overwhelming physical need to participate in these times of perpetually explosive technological innovation. You don’t have to have a taser or other non-lethal defense mechanism to be a part of 21st century technology. The gadgets and gizmos of our day are so ubiquitous, so effective and so easy to use that no one has to be a whiz-bang kid to have one or operate one with stunning efficiency.

Captain Kirk wore one on his tunic; we carry them in our pockets and purses. The science fiction of my youth has become so commonplace that we no longer notice the miracles of technology because they are everywhere, blending into the background. I don’t believe that the cell phone is the pinnacle of human innovation, but I cannot imagine my life without one. It doesn’t matter that human beings got by for at least the last 6,000 years without perpetual accessibility. Now that we have it, we don’t want to go back…most days, anyway. (By the way, have any of you noticed that the Motorola logo looks eerily like two Star Trek symbols? I’m just saying…)

At the beginning of my “awkward stage” (which lasted about 20 years), while I was proudly sporting maroon double-knee-Sears-purchased Toughskin jeans that were two inches too short , the idea of talking with someone miles away without a corded telephone fascinated me. I really wanted a Star Trek communicator and/or a Get Smart shoe-phone. The walkie-talkies of the day were pretty lame; batteries died way too quickly, and the range was disappointingly low.

Twenty-five years later, reality has eclipsed the dreams of my youth. Without wires, we are texting, browsing the web, downloading and running apps, and on the rarest of occasions, actually talking on our cellular telephones. It’s like a dream come true. I am continuously fascinated by the world in which we live.

When James Polk Stone founded our institution in 1906 in Elida, NM, there were telegraph lines, automobiles, and a railroad. But I suppose there is no way on earth he could have envisioned the way his bank looks now. Technology has changed everything…and nothing…all at the same time. Technology doesn’t replace the innate human condition; it amplifies it. Our bank’s foundation is not built on computers and technology, but rather on relationships with people and helping them attain their dreams. It’s not a slogan, and it is more than a mission statement. It is a proclamation and a codification of who we are: The purpose of our bank is to help our customers grow and prosper.

And we fulfill that statement every day. Through the days of New Mexico as a territory to a state, through the Great Depression and two world wars, through recessions, through droughts, through crisis and conflict, through police actions and wars, our bank has been here because you have been here. Our success depends on yours. That is the essence of relationship banking and the essence of who we are. And we will help you succeed, in whatever way we can.

We realize that the world is changing and that many of you are doing business in different ways. That’s why we are in the process of implementing mobile banking. No matter how much of a whiz-bang kid you are, from the person who uses a cell phone for actual voice conversations to the advanced smart phone user who thinks that’s passé, our mobile banking will enable you to use your cell phone or mobile device (tablet, iPad, etc.) to do your banking business.

You’ll be able to call a number (just like you can now) and get balance information and transfer funds among accounts, or you can text message and do the same. You will be able to use the browser on your smart phone to load a mobile version (optimized for mobile browsers) of our online banking where you can do everything from funds transfers to paying bills. Finally, if you have an iPhone, Android or Blackberry, we will have an app that will give you everything from branch and ATM information to access to smart phone-optimized online banking.

We also realize that a lot of you aren’t interested in any of this. No gadgets, no gizmos, no time for the whiz-bang kids. And you know what? That’s just fine with us. We love seeing you in the lobby and talking with you when you come into our bank. If you want to come see us, come see us. If you want to bank-by-text, text. If you’re an app person, app away.

Irrespective of your utilization of technology in this 21st century world, we’re here for you. And we’re going to be here.

I just hope we can one day say, “Open an account, get a free lightsaber.”

Sweet.


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