Technology & change

There has been so much change in the last few years, at least in the field of technology. Social norms have changed as well. The World has changed. With the collapse of communism, the West discovered a new bogeyman – Islam.

I remember when the internet, at least as something in common currency came into being. I found it hard to envisage exactly what it was all about. I envisaged a long corridor & at the end of it was, well, a room with information in it. People talked about finding jobs via the internet. It seemed strange & wonderful. Previous to the advent of the internet, there was something called Minerva. I don’t exactly know what it was but when I word at Loot people started to send in their free ads via Minerva. Without mobile phones, where would be now, how would we cope? It is wrong to say that we coped alright without mobile phones quite simply because we didn’t. The number of missed rendez-vous, just not being able to get in touch people when there was an emergency. In the eighties, I did 2 jobs. I was working late at one of them. My supervisor at the other job was desperately trying to get in touch with me. I did have an answerphone at home but obviously I couldn’t look at it until I arrived home by which time it was too late.

E-mails are a mixed blessing. When the internet first appeared, people were really hung up on it. It was the internet this & the internet that. People seemed to think that it was something much more than it has actually turned out to be. The fact that messages, electronic letters as it were, could be sent instantly seemed like a big innovation. But what was not taken into account was that with so many e-mails going to & forth, people tended all too readily to discard e-mails & not read them at all.

CCTV has made us visible all the time. It is hard to know exactly when we are not being observed rather than when we are. But it has made cities safer. There is much less likelihood of us being mugged in public places.

It isn’t so very long ago that vinyl was the way we listened to recorded music. Not now, even CDs may have had their day. Then there is the matter of trains, buses & so on. Travelling in buses we have little VDUs as well as verbal information in the front, giving us information about the destinations & the next stop.

Mobile phones & …cameras. We are forever photographing each other often with little digital cameras or with the phones themselves.

I don’t know whether all this technology has made anybody any happier but it would certainly make us less happy were it to be taken away from us.

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