Over the past few years, gadgets are increasingly becoming an ever-present externalisation of a person’s thoughts, opinions and choices. Just like your clothes, they are always on you, always exposed to glares. There is a lot you can objectively tell about a person from say, the smartphone they happen to be carrying. With a smorgasbord of devices available in the market, the one you choose ends up describing you more than you might think.
I don’t agree with the figures of the HT-MaRS Youth Survey 2016: 52% of its respondents claimed they don’t judge people from the gadgets they posses. I belong to the 48% who said they do.
Yes, your gadget acts as a badge of pride, giving you access to a select group of people who live and breathe technology. But one can easily imagine a deeper level of discrimination leading us down a very dark path. It may seem trivial upon first blush, but a cursory glance at the rabid online communities that are at each others’ throats simply because they prefer the products of a competing brand.
Thankfully, the extremism of online communities, where people have the shield of anonymity to hide behind, rarely manifests itself in the real world. My contention is that even those who say they judge others based on their tech choices rarely do so in a significant manner. Put simply, such a judgement isn’t lasting or strong anyway.
India’s young is often underestimated in how savvy it really is. We know that tech brands are companies that are creating products to make profits, not religions or political organisations to start fights over incessantly. We know that loving the customisability of Android over the simplicity of iOS or the stability of macOS over the adaptability of Windows are not just causes to wage wars over.
Think of the last time you refrained from talking to a stranger because of the gadget they were wielding. On the other hand, I can personally recount multiple instances where I have started a conversation with someone just because they’re carrying a rare/interesting smartphone or playing an engaging game that I have not come across before.
Of the multitude of things dividing our country right now, I’m thankful that tech isn’t one of them. In fact, it is set to be a force for unification in the coming years. Smartphones are perpetually getting cheaper and the internet is reaching more people every day. Hopefully, one day, we’d be able to proudly say that we are one nation, under the umbrella of the internet.
(Harshit Passi is a freelance front-end developer and a self-identified technophiliac. When he is not working or ravenously following tech news, he can be found shouting at television screens during football matches)
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Read more Youth Survey stories here.