Now I’m of an age where I can remember setting out on a car journey with just a map and a good idea of how to get there. No satnav, no mobile phone and in the car a radio with a cassette player (yes I did say cassette player). Did I survive? yes. Did I get there? yes. But now if I leave home without the mobile it’s ‘what if something happens? What if someone needs to get hold of me?’ When did our lives become so dictated to by technology or the need to always be in touch?
This musing was sparked by an article I read a few days ago suggesting that the Apple watch and the look alikes were already doomed to obsolescence, that soon we’d have tech small enough to be permanently in our ears, or chips in our bodies, or swallowable tech. Then there’s the google glasses. Maybe it’s an age thing but I ask do I want this? OK, for swallowable I can see how that might help in medicine etc. but this endless desire to always be in touch or on the net? Are we going to lose the ability to look at a phone, or heavens forbid a hard copy of something?
The other issue for me is do I always want to be connected? I seemed perfectly happy when that wasn’t possible. In my previous working life I had tears from one team member when I suggested (strongly) that in my meetings laptops should not be open. ‘What if my boss wants me? What if something important happens?’ To which my reply was: ‘has anything ever been so important that you absolutely had to know that second?’ The answer of course was no. And if something was really that important they’d find you. It was a drug, an addiction. I often imagined that person taking their laptop to the toilet with them or sleeping with it – well you never know?
On a time management training course a long time ago it was suggested that you should look at your in-tray (yes it was that long ago) at just a few set times in the day. Also that for some periods you should send your phone through to answer phone. The reason being that otherwise they dictate your priorities i.e. the phone rings and that becomes your first priority no matter how trivial the subject of the call. The same is true of e-mail and let’s face it the majority of stuff we receive can be deleted without even looking at it.
So for me that’s the crux of it. I can see how clever it all is and the applications of much of it. However, I feel that more and more the technology is driving our lives rather than our lives driving the technology. The phone rings we answer it, an e-mail announces itself with a ping, we read it, usually no matter where we are or what we’re doing. How often are you talking to someone and they interrupt you, the person in front of them, to take a call? How often are you dining with a group of friends and people have mobiles on the table and then read texts / e-mails? I play golf with someone who is always looking at his mobile, why? Sometimes he tells me the football scores of teams I have no interest in! And then he’s not sure what’s going on – ARRGH!!
Sorry, what started as a comment has ended in a rant. And of course I’m no saint, or immune to the above either. But I do wonder how far we will go in letting technology dictate our priorities and our lives? Or maybe we’ll see sense and there’ll be some counter revolution. I can but hope.
As always views and comments (or rants) are welcome.