“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

“I hate technology!”   

Said Michael, 67, a former high school English teacher. This was a Saturday afternoon in a university library. After spending hours on his own, Michael turned to me, a stranger, to help him set up online rent payments for his apartment.

Shocked, I did not know how to respond. Technology is what I live and breathe. I studied computer science in college and had since worked in the tech industry. How could anybody hate technology? The web has made everything so simple and we all love our smartphones, right?   

Not for people like Michael. Registering an online account would probably take me three minutes, but for him it was like a stressful exam. What is a password security question? What is PayPal? It was too much. Computer technology disrupted his life without providing much benefit. I realized when we celebrate how wonderful the digital world is with our likeminded peers, many simply didn’t get the time or resources to catch up. For them, technology is a burden.   

“Everything was better in the old days.” Michael added. 

I disagree. But I felt terrible because I know the fault is ours, not his. We need to do better.

I often recall this conversation as I continue my journey as an engineer and entrepreneur. I want to build the technology for the future—technology for everyone, not just the enthusiasts. No one should be left behind in this so-called revolution, and I know my generation is responsible for it.

— Sam Li