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Additional Indignity

I often talk with my students about the impact of technology on our lives: the good and the bad, the capabilities and the limitations. A great example of this was this past summer when my family spent close to a month living in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was amazing how easy living in a foreign country can be thanks to technology.

We found an apartment to rent through an online service and communicated often with our landlord-to-be via email. Money wasn't a problem once we were there, as electronic banking allowed us to use our ATM and credit cards freely (although most places required a PIN for credit cards). With a wifi connection in our apartment, we were able to use an iPad to FaceTime with family back in the states. And even though we didn't have cell service there, we were still able track our location and navigate around town using the iPhone map and GPS.

As good as technology is, however, it does have its limitations. The Google Translate app was great for translating signs or phrases, but it also demonstrated how hard language translation still is for computers. While doing laundry one day, I passed the time by translating the dryer settings from Danish to English using Google Translate. Most of the settings mapped closely to what I expected, until I tried the top one: "Ekstra tort." Based on the other translations, I expected to see "Extra hot." However, I was surprised to find that it translated as "Additional indignity." I now feel guilty every time I do laundry, knowing that I am inflicting indignity upon my clothes.


Dave Reed
CSTA Board of Directors

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