I’m not against change, but with the advent of the Internet, and computer programs, change seems to be introduced for change’s sake – the tech savvy designers can’t stop fidgeting with ‘new looks,’ ‘fantastic new designs,’ ‘amazing experiences’ and so on. None of which of course matches the rhetoric but only happen because they can – not that they must. Hence, my online banking portal will change shortly and I will have to refamiliarise myself with all the upgraded features I was perfectly content without before. Then there’s Google – ‘upgrading’ gmail with a new look which merely serves to discombobulate near-elderly types like myself. Part of the reason for program upgrading is naturally the desire for profit – when you find that your version of Word no longer works in the latest version of the great scheme of things, you have to nip out (sorry, that’s what we used to have to do) and buy the latest version. Not that the latest version will have any tool to help the imagination, you’re still unaccountably left to your own devices to find the words you need to express yourself. (Yes, I know that's not strictly true any more. And who needs words when you can have an emoji?)
There used to be an idea that not everybody needs to be on the same hymn sheet (remember talk of a twin-track E.U?) – that it was perfectly OK to travel life’s course at one’s own pace. This is now fuddy duddy thinking. Everything must be conducted through an online portal, and the less likely you are to have easy access to an online portal (e.g. many Universal Credit claimants or any peasant seeking interaction with government agencies these days) the more you will be seen as wilfully betraying progress. When the case is made on behalf of poor old bloody pensioners that they don’t make use of the internet as much as they SHOULD do, it sounds like our society is harbouring a Trojan army of retards who could imminently crash the system through their sheer minded obstructiveness. They stand opposed to greater heights of efficiency, transformational management and productivity, they’re but barnacles on the sleek hull of decimated public services. I tried to introduce my mother in her eighties to the use of a mouse. Her spirit was willing, but her flesh was weak. In such circumstances, I worried that the internet could be a very dangerous, or at least a rather expensive place.
Just about every new technology, or variants of new technology have met resistance. What is different now however is the fact that the technologies that are changing fastest are those which seem to have more immediate, universal application. Whoever thought of Google maps deserves credit. The idea is grandiose in its vision, matching your whole life not just in terms of getting from A to B geographically but everything in between and more importantly anticipating where you’re going next. In life. You’re whole life is already contained in a heavenly Cloud, and unlike the weaving machines in Colne Valley you can’t smash the Cloud. (Having said which, I’m sure somebody is trying.) Yes, there is a bit of a reaction to the sprawling influence of new technology. According to today’s Guardian there’s a movement against social media – young people are more questioning of its value and there’s a ‘Don’t use social media month’ coming up. I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’ll just lead to another change in portals and the main task of the social media moguls will be to spot which start-up will be the next trend setter and buy them out.
Well, I don’t know where I’m going with this. At heart I’m just an old postie wondering where all the mail went.