The first thing I usually do at the airport is to turn off the offline mode on my Android smartphone and connect to the airport’s Wi-Fi. This time, however, something wasn’t right.
I wanted to check how can I reach my hotel, but for some reason, Google Maps didn’t work. It just wouldn’t load any street names or points of interest. I turned on the Gmail app, but it wouldn’t load either.
You could say, that I simply didn’t have an Internet connection, but when I typed in some other website address, it loaded without a problem. It wasn’t my Wi-Fi’s fault, I was just back in those times when you had to remember the website’s full address to reach it.
I thought that at least I can contact my family and tell them I safely arrived, but Facebook and Messenger were out too. I couldn’t download any other app to my smartphone, because Google Play didn’t work either.
I went to the travelers’ safe haven. You can be anywhere in the world, but there would always be a McDonald’s restaurant, where you know what you can expect. What I didn’t expect was that my Visa and Mastercard cards wouldn’t be accepted. The self-service kiosk kept aborting the transactions.
This felt like an apocalypse scenario, but you can experience it too. All you need to do is travel to China unprepared. Now I know, that I could have switched my browser’s search engine to Bing or I could have downloaded WeChat, which is not only a communicator app, but you can also use it to book or pay for a variety of things. However, this is not why I created this blog post.
I want to share my reflection on how technology influences our lives. We don’t even realize what change was made in the last 20 years. We use some kind of cloud technology each time we want to get somewhere, store our photos or buy something. I don’t even need to have any cash in my wallet. We got used to it, and we don’t realize what a leap this was.
But it also feels a bit scary. Apart from being grateful and amazed, it made me realize how dependent I am. What would I do if one day all of those services are gone without any word of warning? Looking at how the year 2020 started, this scenario doesn’t sound so unreal anymore …