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Cuba becoming technologized

I recently overheard a conversation between two college students in a dorm. One of them said, "Last night, a techie downloaded the third season of "Lost" for me. The 25 episodes cant fit onto two discs, but maybe we could compress them in your computer." The other guy replied, "No problem. That machine can do anything; theres nothing it cant handle, even encoded videogames... By the way, Ive got some new games on my flash memory, but my hard drive is packed. Dont worry though; a new external hard drive is on the way."

That conversation has two interpretations.

First, it is comforting to know how, in a progressive way, technology has increasingly gained a place in Cuba. Technology entails development, the increase of knowledge and the humanization of work. Any Cuban child can talk about computing in a way that would have seemed fanciful just a few decades ago.

It is common to see people in the streets of Havana with flash memories hanging from their necks and MP3 players in their ears, while carrying hard drives in their backpacks. Stores here have started to sell some of these accessories making access to them greater everyday.

No one on the side of reason would ever oppose this increased use of technology; nor would they want to see our youth be "if not completely up to date in terms of technology" at least not completely left behind due to the US blockade of Cuba and our situation as a poor, third-world country.

However, a second interpretation of the students conversation involves us realizing that being "up to date," in terms of technology, does not always mean making a good use of it

At many workplaces, people are given access to equipment that is extremely worthwhile due to the money that can be made from it, though the instrumentation is expensive on the international market.

However, sometimes this equipment is improperly used for amusement and entertainment - activities that are secondary to work or study.

The amount of time spent online on personal e-mails, playing games, chatting and downloading music, films, and TV series often eclipses the time spent searching for information and conducting research. This happens both in schools and in work places, where it is common to find someone in the middle of the day playing the latest card game over the Internet.

The solution is not to shut down Internet services in these places, a drastic measure recently suggested by a co-worker of mine during a meeting. That would be a step back.

What we need to do is convince those people who misuse these resources of the need for a change. With the support and involvement of the staff at their workplaces and schools it is our job to show them the negative impact of their abuse.

There is nothing wrong with using a computer to watch a movie or a TV series, or to listen to a good concert, but not when these activities come before other more vital objectives.

Source: By Julio Martinez Molina, Juventud Rebelde

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