Thoughts

The downsides of technology


During the rains in Bombay, technology tends to fail; in some areas more than others. Sometimes its a brief power outage, 10-15 minutes, and sometimes it goes for days on end (depending on weather forecasts, your personal connection with someone working with your electricity provider, and a bit of luck).

Through these power outages, hotspotting your laptop through your phone’s 3G or 4G becomes crucial. Like yesterday, when I could sit at home & upload my post in the dark. Or on days I’m able to upload photos to the blog in the matter of seconds, thanks to the wonders of Bluetooth and AirDrop.

So, technology is amazing–we all agree. Being the devils advocate that I am, however, I started thinking about types of technology changing our daily lives for the worse…

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1. In-flight wifi

For as long as I can remember, the best thing about flying has been to entirely disconnect from the world below–it both helps build the excitement of getting somewhere distant and allows you to zone out entirely (for once). I’m one of those people who binge watch one movie after another when on a flight, and for whatever reason, I cry every time I fly, regardless of whether I’m watching an old episode of Sex and the City or Baby Driver. Not just a couple of secret happy tears–more of a full on waterfall-hiding-under-your-blanket type scenario. Special moments like these don’t get the same effect when someone’s whatsapping you asking for photos of the Atlantic, or inboxing you asking whether your flight is on-time (just track the flight yourself, damnit).

 

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2. Actual photo albums

One of my favourite things to do when I go home is to go through old photo albums and watch videos: from the first bike ride, a first day of class, or just a lunch with grandparents at the age of 4. Or, how about the black & whites of when your parents met at the age of 22 and you were still nothing but a thought? (if even) … Point is, there is something truly special about pulling out a pile of old photo albums with tiny semi-unreadable handwritten notes on a rainy day. Or on a sunny day too for that matter. I recently chucked away my old iPhone, and in the process I lost somewhere a little over 24000 images and three years of detailed memories. Yes, fine, some of these are backed up somewhere on a cloud or on a drive, but seriously, its not like I’m going to give my future kids a username and password and ask them to browse through.

 

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3. Transportation timetables

When I was in Sweden around the end of last year my grandfather asked me to drive him to the station to pick up a bus schedule, so I said sure no problem, and off we went. When we got to the station, there weren’t any timetables in the section where you used to be able to collect them. “Get your timetable on our website” or “download the timetable-app“, we were told. Uh, sorry, what? My grandfather is 85 years old–he doesn’t have apps or laptops and probably doesn’t own anything more high tech than a radio. I found this sad. I myself define as one of those who would choose an actual calendar or notebook over a virtual one on any day, so I can just imagine how two generations above me must feel…

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