Technology

It isn’t the fascinating subject everyone seems to think it is.

In the McLuhan-inverse terminology of da yoot of yesteryear, today’s technology is luke-warm/tepid at best … not hot … let alone cool, daddio.

It’s boring.

It hasn’t solved the riddles of existence, nor its mind-numbing, spirit-crushing realities.

It isn’t the herald of better times to come … a more caring, sharing, liberal and liberated world … any more than the television turned us all into Nobel laureates, the telephone made us all great orators or the computer made us all playwrites; word-processors, yes: Wordsworths, no — you won’t be receiving a Pulitzer for the snaps on your mobile phone, a Booker for your blog, nor a knighthood for your performance in some console/computer game.

We’re still all just people … boring, bereft of vision … our direction blighted by ignorance, lassitude and ennui.

And the Future will be no different: there’ll be new technologies put to use to serve the mundane interests of commerce, entertainment, espionage, control, oppression and all the rest — people will get excited by them because they’re ‘new and improved’, bigger, better, harder, faster, deeper, darker, longer, stronger … because they have more flashing lights on them and go ‘bing’ with 196googolbits rather than 196megabits.

So what?

So, we get to the end of the line and find we’ve finally understood it all … we can engineer your chromasomes and make you prettier, rewire your brain and jack you in, disassemble your molecules and email you to another galaxy and …

And then what?

What are we gonna do when we get home from a day in the virtual studio, at the interface, or on the galactic broadband network, then?

The same as we do today … just faster, with more flashing lights and a more sonorous ‘bing’.

But we aren’t gonna be any different — we’ll eat some reconsituted slurry from the hyperwave, jack-in and star in the latest episode of Galactic-Spiral-Rim-Enders and colour our skin in readiness for yet another night out at the Speed-of-Light club, like we do every weekend.

Technology doesn’t matter: what’s important is what we do with it.

When you read a book, you don’t care what press it was printed on.

When you listen to a piece of music, you don’t care what factory manufactured the CD.

When you look at someone’s holiday snaps, you don’t care what camera they were taken on … you just wish there weren’t so many of them.

When one of your loved ones dies in a war it doesn’t matter if it was in an intergalactic cruiser or a Sopwith Camel.

Who … what … where … when … why … how are meaningful, significant, interesting … not what brand or model.

A crap song recorded to MP3 is still a crap song … a blazing row on your Bluetooth-enabled mobile/cell-phone is still a blazing row … a beautiful sunset is still a beautiful sunset, regardless of shutter speed or megapixels.

Technology isn’t your friend, it’s the terminally dull colleague at the office whom you only tolerate with a modicum of civility because they take some of the workload off you.

So, shut up about it.

It doesn’t matter how many megapixels it has, how many bits it uses, how many gigahertz it travels at — Was what you did today interesting? … Was it worthwhile?… Did it change the World for the better in any way? … Was it fun? … Was today, in any way, different from yesterday?

Don’t show me your new phone: call me and tell me something interesting that you’ve just experienced.

Don’t tell me how many polygons there are in the game: show me an intriguing puzzle.

Don’t tell me how many millions of dollars were spent on FX: describe an interesting plot.

Don’t tell me how large the storage capacity is on your portable jukebox: play me a good tune.

I’m not interested in how big the latest release of your cock is.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live and too rare to die.