It was not that long ago that technology wasn't really helpful to the Deaf community. With the advancements in technology, effective communication is available to virtually everyone. But, is technology always the right answer?
In a time not so long ago...
We have become numb to technology advances. It is almost expected that the newer and better will be here no later than tomorrow. This feeds the ADHD culture we live in today. It's hard to believe that the first iPhone came out in 2007. That was barley a decade ago. But that iPhone was a far cry from the smart phones we have today and the capabilities. Remember the first iPhone didn't have a front facing camera and no FaceTime. Now, to even think of having a device that doesn't have two cameras is useless. Think about all of the things we can do today with a little gadget that has seem to become a part of our body. If you leave home without it, it feels like you left your right arm. As good as this is, we sometimes forget how powerful some of this tech is and how much it has changed people's lives.
The Video and English influence
Video chat has revolutionized a whole culture. Not just in how we communicate, but in how we have access. The iPhone came out in 2007, but FaceTime came out in 2010 (less than 10 years ago). With the advent of front facing cameras a whole new world was opened up to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. The iPhone started the data hungry revolution, but video chat took that binge to a whole new level. Mobile communication companies had to rethink how data transfer with so many 1s and 0s was going to be possible to deliver the insatiable demand for bandwidth. That is just the nerdy tech part, but back to the cultural revolution.
American Sign Language is not a written language, and honestly, is not a spoken language either. There are very big differences between ASL and English from a language standpoint. Much of the American population does not realize that ASL has its own grammatical structure, idioms, nuances and more. It is not simply 'English with the hands'. Granted there is English Sign Language (ESL) and Signing Exact English (SEE), but honestly ASL is the large player in this field. English has influenced most ASL signers and can come across as a hybrid of either. The
The now archaic
The days of the land line are fading fast. Everything is wireless mobile and convenient. Prior to the recent tech revolution communication was done through TTY. We can now "go ahead..." and use the more accepted more effective form of communication for the Deaf.
This is actually even better in many cases because it also decreases the English influence over ASL. Because ASL and English are different languages with different structures, the decreasing use of TTY opens the door to less English influence over ASL. That is not to say that one language is better or worse than the other... simply put they are different. Communication in the Deaf community is simply more effective than ever has been, or has the potential to be that much more effective.
The NOW (if you don't blink)
Yes, the past seems so archaic, but what about today?
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. - James 4:14
How true! Look at technology. We see it now, probably more than ever that life is like a vapor. It is financially impossible to keep up with every new and emerging technology. Even if we could, would you want to?
The what's next
So what is next and how will it change the world we live in today? Who knows, but one thing is for certain, if the last 15 years tells us anything it is that our world can change at a mind blowing speed. What was acceptable yesterday is old and rusty. Will virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality be a part of effective communication in the near future? You can count on it as well as the dreams of Star Trek and Star Wars. These are exciting times we live in!