Digital Hermit

You may have noticed we live in the Digital Age. Except ‘we‘ don’t, but our kids do. Anyone surfing onto the planet since about 1990 has never interacted in a world stripped of the immediacy of mobile phones or the lies of the Internet. And that’s scary.

They’ve grown up surrounded by the power of now – digital cameras, Google and YouTube. Watch a ten year old learn a new computer game “ for them instructions aren’t written down, they are on line. Load up, get fragged a few times, parallel process a solution through video walk thru’s and on-line friends.

Now factor in Facebook and MySpace – the kind of social networking representing the default state of the generation who will be taxed to fund our pensions. It will blow apart just apart every working practice and start a revolution that’ll leave us wondering why the hell we spent all that time in the office. Still that’s a subject for serious discussion and this is the hedgehog so let’s get silly.

After working with technology for over twenty years, it is only with great grudgement that I’ll attempt to operate anything with a manual bigger than the actual product. Which in this ever escalating miniaturisation arms race is just about everything.

Take my Bluetooth earpiece which sports a multitude of tiny buttons which issue a R2-D2 parody of beeps and squawks without actually performing any obvious function. It’d randomly pair with the phone at the exact time the “ tiny “ battery expired. But this at least saves me from the get over yourself tele-conferences where a worried looking bloke appears to be addressing the condiments isle.*

Such is my suspicion over the maturity of technology not yet ten years old, my approach was to either ignore the bloody thing or to swap seats with Carol and letting her drive. This was slightly more difficult on the motorway in a Chuckle Brothers to me to you seat swap, but it keeps the kids amused. In our car, this practice is known as Human Bluetooth

So my surprise was somewhere off the scale “ where the maximum is you have received a tax credit “ when my sodding GPS ran while the PHONE WAS IN THE BOOT. Crashing seemed to be inevitable while I frantically scanned the sky for the alien craft which was telepathically mind-beaming the interplanetary favourite what time will you be home?

I’m not sure how my wife interpreted Woooah, what the fuck is going on, the map is talking to me, it’s the fucking map I’m talking about, I am not shitting you, THE GPS has demons inside, get a bloody Priest lined up. Calmness personified, Carol reminded me I’d foolishly paired the dumb-phone to the electronic lazy-map months ago, and insidious technology had taken over.

I’m not so sure. I fully expect to open the fridge and a government talking head to chide me for reaching beerwards, and demand I divert to the salad tray. And it’s going to get worse before I get better “ but like cheese and marmite, government and honesty, cider and dangerous machinery, Al and technology clearly cannot coexist on a planet still lightly bolted to reality.

So sod these bloody digital natives, I’m opting out, unplugging myself from the matrix, getting reacquainted with maps, u-turns and hand written letters. The time of the digital native is over, it is time for the digital hermit.

* If you ever are unfortunate to hear “hello dear shall I get the foie gras or the shop pate“, the correct response is Neither Get meat paste you pretentious knobber

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