Sunday, January 13, 2013

Is technology adding value to our lives?

I was sitting on the train this morning watching two people (obviously friends) sitting next to each other, both furiously stabbing away at their phones. Overhearing their sporadic exclamations it became apparent that they were both engaged in the same conversation with a third party via Facebook.

It strikes me as sad that they did not put the bloody phones down and TALK to the person they were with. Or maybe CALL the third party, have the conversation and finish.

We spend more time 'Chatting' to people we have never met (and probably will never meet) than we do talking to people right in front of us.

Now don't get me wrong. I love technology and have made a career out of it, but I do feel that it is getting beyond intrusive. We can't go out without someone 'checking in' (OK, hands up if you have never done this. I have so this is a person in a glass house throwing stones). We can't have a meal without taking a picture and rating it (actually this is not one of my vices).

I am out with my six year old today. I will admit to taking pictures and posting them, but I am competent enough with tech for each one to take seconds to do. Unlike a chap I was held up behind, that took ten mins to work out how to use his camera while his poor kids sat looking bored and the queue behind him (with me in it), trying to get into a vintage carriage, grew ever longer.

We all seem to be living somewhere else while our lives are happening here (we are almost observers' to our lives while living vicariously through the lives of others). Now I may appear to be a hypocrite, blogging while out with my son, but , in my defense, he is on a train simulation at the mo.

The Book "Lucifer's Hammer" is a great indication (if somewhat extreme) of what could happen.  We live in a world of technology that NO ONE knows how to build, operate or maintain.  Perhaps we need to teach our kids what makes a bus go and how to build a generator?  Perhaps we need to talk to each other, before we forget how.

How many people have managed to keep an email conversion going beyond 2 or 3 exchanges?  There was a time that I exchanged Letters with friends round the world for many years, but along comes the internet and something that should have been made easier has petered out and finally ground to a halt.

While technology has allowed me to maintain better communications with some people in America it seems to have killed communications with some friends in North London!

I guess what I am saying is that, wonderful though the brave new world is, we do need to remember the way we used to do it and, sometimes, the older ways are "better".

I still remember the anticipation of receiving a letter from a friend or collecting a roll of processed film....