Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Musings on Digital Technology

If anyone's seen the film WALLE, you'll know it features a space-ship housing people who have become so reliant on technology they never see anything beyond a screen suspended in front of their face. I'd like to think we're a long way away from that, but you only have to notice a person sauntering along the pavement, eyes glued to their latest smartphone, and it doesn't seem that far away. I'm not a Luddite, but I do worry what kind of world digital technology is taking us into: if in future to "like" something won't be an emotional response, but a physical act of clicking a tab; if to "chat" will only mean to type into a small window with a postage stamp-sized photo of your friend in the top right-hand corner.
I once went to see comedian Ed Byrne at Birmingham Symphony Hall. As he performed, a woman near the front recorded his routine with her camera phone. "That's right Love," he said noticing her, "watch it on a tiny screen when you get home, then you'll enjoy it." Ed, I salute you.

1 comment:

  1. Great observation. It's something I struggle with whenever I'm on holiday - should I detach myself and record stuff on photo/video? Or enjoy the time with the family? Recording has become so much easier now that you can do it all the time, but the question is whether you should or not.

    On the other hand it is nice to watch a video of your holiday years later and notice how much the kids have grown up since then. I treasure the photos taken by my father when I was a kid - being 'real' photos there are as many for a three-week holiday as you would nowadays take on a single day.

    And I must admit that I occasionally look at my phone as I'm walking around. As with anything it takes some effort to get used to technological change and be able to make a conscious decision whether you'll look up and enjoy the moment or check your email instead.


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