Technology used to be the home of the introvert, the geeks, like me, who could quite happily bypass human company for the peace and quiet and the possibilities of a blinking cursor.
Increasingly, however, technology is becoming the friend of the extrovert, those people who really can’t live without the constant interaction with others.
Both Facebook and Google are leading the charge, with the likes of Google Glass and Facebook’s ‘Nearby Friends’ soon to inform us when these friends, plus an awful lot of casual acquaintances, are nearby. In Facebook’s case you’ll get a smiley face pinpointed on a map, in Google Glass’ case, their location will be burned directly onto your retina.
Every adult should know when to step off the infobahn and it looks like the day is coming for me. Personally, I can think of little worse than people knowing where I am 24/7, except perhaps they know that I shamefully ducked down an alleyway, escaping from my not-so-virtual friends, as they veered towards me. Well, I don’t need a weatherman to find out which way the wind is blowing.
In both cases, I am sure that you will not need to turn this feature on, but will we be allowed? It’s unlikely people my age (ancient) will feel the social pressure for 24/7 connection, but I am sure my daughter will do. And, it does worry me.
Technology is already too invasive. My wife is pretty much connected every waking hour, taking calls and answering emails right up until her phone slips from her hand as she slumps into bed. I have to say, working on GulfNews.com, I am not far behind. News, rudely, can break at any hour; the site’s malfunctions do not care about social etiquette and personal time.
Bluntly, the mad rush to merge the physical and virtual worlds is no longer exciting (to me), it is simply a way to make us less free, not more so; stupid, not more intelligent; distracted, not focused. I can see how it would excite the Facebooks and Googles of this world, desperate to find more ways to disintermediate ‘old’ businesses, blind us with more virtual advertising boards, but I sincerely doubt our lives are going to be enhanced by any of these ‘amazing’ developments.
In the words of the mighty Bob (Dylan): Look out kids, They keep this all hid, Better jump down a manhole, and Light yourself a candle.