The hedonistic rush of new technology

Today’s post is completely atypical and is probably a one off. So get yourself ready, make yourself comfortable, take a deep breath and dive in.

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This is going to make me sound very very old but…
I remember the days when televisions had a black and white picture and channels were changed by tuning a dial to the correct frequency for each station. I remember the excitement of getting the “television man” ti install a tv which he set up with clunky push buttons on the front which turned the set over to a pre-tuned channel.

The television man seemed to be a regular visitor as transistors and capacitors blew and were replaced by him,, removing the back panel from the tv and revealing the huge tube and electron gun (which sounded like a futuristic comic-book weapon) inside and he would patiently explain what everything inside was for to this 5,6,7 year old.

I loved science and the first remote control was a wonder, as its thick cable stretched across the living room floor. Next up came the amazing “clicker” which emitted a pitch above an adults upper hearing range. It clicked up channel and downchannel. I worked out that these two functions were different frequencies by repeatedly firing the thing in my ear at close range like an insane game of Russian roulette with the long term effects on my hearing (I won).

After that, there was the step into colour television. Colour transmissions reached our part of Britain relatively late- being surrounded by hills tv reception always suffered after the switchover from 405 line VHF transmissions to 625line UHF (the shorter wavelength was blocked by the hills).

TV evolution seemed to slow down, stepping out from wooden cabinets and into plastic casings.
Then introduction of a 4th TV channel, Breakfast Television, daytime television, a 5th channel (which was rolled out very, very slowly).

Fast forward to the here and now- hundreds of channels, live TV and catch-up services available in your pocket, on a phone, recent movies streamed over the internet which has become so pervasive you wouldn’t believe how young it is or how rapidly it’s grown up in the last couple of years.

I’ve always enjoyed the giddy headlong rush of technological advances but I’ve never felt the need to keep up with the Vanguard. The rallying call and clamour for the iPhon5s or 5c leaves me cold.

Technological advances used to seem to take place because it would improve people’s lives (I know, I picked TV as my subject but really that’s the poorest of examples).

Now, advances take place to worsen lives by luring us into spending money on buying a device that does amazing things (now with the stunning new feature of fingerprint recognition which is, I’m something we all need in what is basically just a phone.

I’m only picking on Apple because they’re in the news today. Everyone is doing this to us. We are the targets of corporate greed.

Just think what your money could be doing instead of filling the coffers of the richest companies of the world. If redistributed, it could be providing free healthcare for all, food for the hungry, housing for those without homes. Our world could be a much better place if only our vision wasn’t skewed by rampant consumerism….

don’t worry, it’s all over- you can relax again now

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7 comments

  1. I remember TV in the same way you do. The color set was a big moment for our family – I was 12 years old.

    I still only watch about 5 channels of TV though there are many more (despite our family having the lowest level of cable TV possible).

    I am happy about lots of new technology (including this computer and internet that are letting me “know” you right now). But maybe it’s my age, too – I like whatever will get me to where I’m going in the easiest form, and the rest – no intrinsic attraction for me. I spend my time outside or doing artwork or cleaning the house. Guess the habits formed long ago still rule me!

    I enjoyed this post and always you art.

    1. Hi Claudia! I’m not against technology per se- I work in IT and own more than my fair share of gadgets… It’s just that we’ve gone down a path where technology is a driver rather than an enabler.

      I find that technology swallows time which could be better spent elsewhere.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post- I was worried that I would come across as a grumpy old man.

      Finally, thanks for your kind wotds!

  2. I have thought the same thing (but not in such a well ordered or clear way). As long as people believe new is better and that things are “must haves” this will not change. It is essential that consumers believe their world will be lesser if they don’t own the latest and greatest. That failing, technology changes and consumers are “forced” to upgrade. The old are obsolete and the young own the world and the future. If you believe this you are already brainwashed – it is how “they” keep the young hard a work and hard at consuming stuff!

    Perhaps resistance to buying stuff will come into fashion – consumerism and conformity to pretend individualism has been in style so long – come on little ones you are the next to own the world and the future – make up something new for us to do – this is so boring!

    Elephant

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