Thanksgiving: Why I'm thankful to tech

Thanksgiving: Why I'm thankful to tech

Summary: On this most American of holidays, I give thanks to the industry that empowers and inspires all of us to be connected, to acquire knowledge, to think and to achieve greatness.

TOPICS: Tech Industry

thankful-technology Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. As an American, there is nothing which pleases me more than sitting down with friends and family and feasting on obese, genetically modified fowl, loading up on carbs, drinking my fill of fine wine and then laying back on the couch in a food stupor while watching the Detroit Lions get whalloped on the gridiron on a ridiculously-sized flat screen TV.

Thanksgiving is not just about excesses, though. It is a holiday which is pure in every respect, because it cannot be perverted by the influence of others or misinterpreted or distorted in any way. It is the most inclusive and adaptable of all holidays.

Thanksgiving is invincible.

No matter how you celebrate it, it is uniquely American, no matter what ethnic background you come from or what faith you choose (or not) to subscribe to. It is a holiday that celebrates freedom, the most basic tenet of our society that was practiced and revered ever since the first colonists arrived on the shores of Virginia some 400 years ago.

Freedom has allowed American society to advance considerably since the dawn of our nation. With that freedom, we have conquered the land, making it do our bidding to produce the food that feeds our country and the world.

We have built great towns and cities, growing to a bursting population of over 311 million strong. We have built roads, railways and bridges that span one of the largest continents on the planet.

We have mastered the power of flight and have put any destination on the globe within our reach.

We have industrialized and built factories that can produce almost anything imaginable and mastered the transmission of electrical power and harnessed the atom.

We have explored the depths of the ocean and revealed many of its mysteries. We have sent our people into space, and we have gazed upon the sands of other worlds. 

With the creation of the Internet, we have built an international telecommunications infrastructure thas enables billions of people to communicate instantaneously via data, voice and video using devices that were the stuff of science fiction only a decade or two ago.

With the advent of search and decision engines and data mining, we can answer just about any question with only a few keystrokes, or with the power of our own voice. 

We have designed computing machines that can mimic our own thought processes, and can help us understand the most complex of problems, including about why we are who we are, where we came from, and to decode the fundamental instructions for what makes us tick.

All of this is due to the advancement of technology, much which has been brought forth largely by the will of the American people.

As a technologist I am proud to be part of a society which promotes the freedom to do all of these things. While all of these achievements are substantial and we should revere those Americans who made these things possible, there is still much for us left to do. 

With that said, I hope you'll excuse me while I have another plate of some juicy white meat, a glass of Pinot Noir and a pile of butter-soaked mashed potatoes and gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving, ZDNet.

Topic: Tech Industry


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • Yeah, great

    what about all the polution etc?
    • I'm not inviting you...

      To my thanksgiving dinner. :)
      • jperlow be a nice guy and bring Loverock Davidson from out in the

        COLD.....he needs a friend with the way Surface is going
        Over and Out
    • You're right, Random; thank you Technology for helping stop pollution

      Technology constantly pushes to make more from less.
      Technology is leading us away from toxins and towards renewable solutions that are, in the long run, cheaper and easier.
      Technology creates ways to clean up the mistakes of the past.

      Thanks, Random_Error, for reminding us of the good technology has done to deal with this terrible problem.
  • It is becoming preversed

    Thanks to stores opening on Thanksgiving evening, people being forced to work to sell holiday gifts. It is perversion of a day meant for family and friends to not allow them to have the day for that.
  • Forget problems for a moment to just be grateful.

    Well said, Jason.

    Sometimes it's renewing to stop--stop asking, begging, whining for our needs, issues, problems, worries--and just think about what we have for a change, instead of what we don't have.
  • Damn proud to be American.

    Except I'm not.
    Happy thanksgiving my fellow Americans.
  • Thanks!

    Well said Jason.

    Technology has made it possible for us to reach out to everyone everywhere, and has made lives much easier than any time in history. Yes, we've made mistakes along the way using technology, but most of the time we built it to help ourselves and others.

    I am glad we take a day to celebrate and thank the people and their inventions that improve us as a people, even if in a small way.
  • Ah, Thanksgiving

    Celebrating the help we got from the local (Indian) population, before we decided to exterminate most of them and put the rest of them in reservations. Really something to be proud about. Also, I'm sure other nations have built trains and bridges as well. Having said that, I'm a proud American, but not for the reasons you mention, Jason.
  • While it's a great sentement... has fallen far short of the mark on helping many people "to acquire knowledge, to think and to achieve greatness".

    Technology allows people to ACCESS knowledge (not the same as acquire it) so few people actually end up acquiring it. Technology has also relieved the average person of the necessity to think. Why think when you can look up someone else's opinion online and then parrot what they think instead of having original thought? And as for the achieving greatness part, let's take a look at that:

    The Kardashian Sisters
    Paris Hilton
    Nicole Ritchie

    That's a small sampling of the many things I could have done without that technology has brought to us. What I am truly thankful for are the mute button (especially during election season) and the power-off button.