Technology takes wonder out of ever having to wait

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

BBC Radio 4’s flagship current affairs programme is celebrating 70 years on air this year – its big anniversary celebration took place last weekend – and, on the back of this, John Humphreys and his Today colleagues have been overflowing with nostalgia for several months.

They’ve been teeing up their anniversary with a series of sound-bites, evoking a simpler time before the mobile phone when not everyone even had a landline.

It’s every old duffer’s right to pine for times past and lament how things were always better in the good old days – but sometimes you do have to wonder if we traded privacy and individuality for technology.

The phone is only one example; it’s great to be constantly contactable – but do we really need to be? Is work not best kept to work hours? And what’s so important that it won’t hold until the morning?

Do we need a watch that reveals your heart beat after twenty minutes on a treadmill or a watch that just tells you the time?

Do you need to buy an electronic book in the middle of the night just because you’ve reads a review on an electronic version of a newspaper?

Wouldn’t we be better off with actual friends as opposed to hundreds of the Facebook variety whom we’ve never met?

Was life easier when you met potential partners socially rather than swiping left or right on your phone to decide if they hit the spot or not?

Did kids have more fun playing actual football with jumpers for goalposts, as opposed to FIFA on the telly from the couch?

Computerisation has a lot to answer for on many fronts; there is, for example, a sterility to buying wedding presents now that almost makes it seem like an extra-terrestrial experience.

Instead of going into a shop and choosing a gift you think might show you put a bit of thought into the needs and likes of the happy couple, said happy couple can reverse the process by electronically sending you a shortlist of their ideal gifts.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.