I saw a post on Kim’s blog, about two young men trying (and failing) to work out how to use a rotary-dial phone. It’s an amusing video, but I found it quite worrying too. Here’s a link.
Are you old enough to remember when the only TV you could watch was what was on at the time? Were you born (as I was) a very long time before the Internet? Can you remember VHS TV recorders with cable-connected remote controls? Phone boxes (booths) that needed the right change to make a call, and life before credit cards?
Some younger people no longer know how to tell the time on an analogue watch or clock. The video in the link shows that some cannot even work out how to use the type of phone that others still have in their homes. They have never written nor posted a letter, bought a stamp, or signed a cheque. I’m sure a lot of them don’t even know what a cheque book is. They have grown up in a world of fingertip convenience, with the answers to everything provided by the screen of their mobile phone, or a shout to ‘Alexa’. They can watch anything they want, when they want, on any platform that they choose. Their social interaction is primarily electronic, rarely even bothering to actually speak on the phones they all own.
It won’t be long before a generation exists that has never entered a shop. Online deliveries of everything, even food, mean that they don’t ever have to leave home, to buy anything they might need. You can even buy a car online, and have it delivered to your house. Virtual reality may one day remove the need to even travel abroad, as they experience any place in the world whilst lying on their bed, wearing a headset.
It’s a wonderful future, apparently. A brave new world of electronic convenience.
But what happens if and when it all stops? Solar flares, natural disasters, diminished resources, or ‘operator error’. So many things can potentially unravel the reliance on electronic aids and lifestyles. I wonder how they will cope in a future that I am fairly content to not be around to see?
Watch the video, and you will find out.