The world changes, of course it does, things evolve and develop and everything moves on. We keep what works, discard what doesn’t doesn’t and this is how improvements are made. But at what point do we stop. At what point is something at it’s optimal point of development. It can’t be improved any further.
The first steam engine was invented at the end of the 17th century and it took another two hundred years before we saw the birth of the internal combustion engine. Thomas Savery’s first incarnation in 1698 was fettled and tinkered with, improved and developed until it saw the birth of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. Fast forward two-hundred and fifty years, and we are developing our technology at a frighteningly exponential rate. In a generation, we have seen whole technologies come and go. The invention of things like compact cassette and VCR’s wowed us with their ingenuity, only to disappear into obscurity a few short years later. We were amazed at the addition of a fourth and then a fifth television channel, yet now we can choose from hundreds and watch them wherever we happen to be. Computers use to be gigantic whirring machines that were kept behind securely locked doors, used only by those who were expertly versed in binary and machine code. Now, we all carry a super-computer around with us in our pockets.
But surely this is a good thing, I hear you cry! Never have we been so connected to the world around us. We have a wealth of information constantly at our fingertips and we can contact our love ones at the click of button. No matter where in the world they may be. Those programs that we used to wait all week for, (before we were able to record them onto magnetic tape of course!), we can now download and watch whenever we like. You don’t even have to wait for the next episode, you can download the whole series and “binge-watch” at your leisure.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a technophobe, I’ve sold technology for over twenty years now and I’ve seen it from the inside out. But, I believe that we have gone too far. The very devices that were supposed to connect us and make our world smaller, only serve to isolate and enslave us. We are now glued to screens, almost oblivious to the world around us. We eagerly await notifications from our social media sites and constantly seek to enlarge and improve our digital world. We are slaves to the very things that were supposed to set us free. The faintest of chirps or chimes have us grasping for our phones, eager to see what new delights it brings. Additional followers, likes for our posts, or perhaps that vlog has gone viral. All the while, we are being separated from the real world. Corralled away from the herd, divided from what is really going on around us.
But that’s just a conspiracy theory. You’re in control. It’s all good. Right?
Of course it is.
That reminds me. I really fancy watching The Matrix again!