My nephew couldn’t even speak properly yet, when he was navigating like a pro on the iPad. Game apps watch videos on YouTube – no problem at all. At some point, I will surely tell him a story from 20 or 30 years ago, and I feel like “Grandpa, who tells about the war”.
If there’s one thing we can’t blame for, it’s slowness. In the last ten to 15 years, our world has changed more radically than ever before. Honestly, I think the last thing that changed the world was the asteroid that caused the dinosaurs to die out.
When I was young, my parents’ old phone still had a dial. When I did my military service, I had to look for a telephone booth to make a call at home. And when I bought a mobile phone, the tiny screen was monochrome and typing a single text message, took hours. And even in the nerdy things of life, my stories already sound like pre-war stories. We swapped games for the C64 on huge and flabby floppy disks. Labelled with stickers and the unasked question, who had bought this one original, from which everyone else had received a copy. And when I dialed into the Internet for the first time, the modem peeped all over the house and you always hoped, that no one would call and throw you off the line. I looked at picture galleries of Alyssa Milano, which were built up on the screen at a speed, that could no longer be sold even in the German province today. Videos were out of the question. And who wanted to download MP3s, did this during the night, being in a deep sleep. Sometimes they were downloaded the next morning, unless some call had disconnected the computer briefly from the Internet.
Alexa, please organize my life
And today? I don’t have a watch in my apartment, when I want to know what time it is, I ask Alexa. The same applies, if I am suddenly interested in how many inhabitants East Timor has, or who won the last cricket world championship. I find my way around in remote areas, provided the reception is good enough to use Google Maps. Then you just must go in the direction, indicated by the arrow. But occasionally, you should also pay attention to the traffic. And thanks to a dozen messenger apps on my cell phone, I seriously wonder, how I dated friends as a kid. In retrospect, these were certainly logistical masterpieces. Actually, this is a thing of impossibility and miracle, that I had social contacts at all before Facebook.
In short, when the great solar storm of 1895 repeats itself and all lines burn through, a large part of humanity is lost. Yes, there are certainly countless videos on YouTube, that show you how to survive after the apocalypse – problem is, there won’t be no YouTube anymore. While MacGyver might survive with his Swiss Army Knife, our modern Swiss Army Knives are simply worthless apps, on the smartphone. But on the other hand, if you look at their cell phones at the bus stop today, you’ll inevitably wonder, if the zombie apocalypses haven’t started yet? Zombies can’t be much more indifferent either, and the mobile zombies at least have no appetite for brains.
We can no longer survive without WLAN
For some years now, we have been simply outsourcing more and more skills and knowledge, trusting that WIFI is already available somewhere. Thanks to Google and Wikipedia, individuals know more than ever before – but actually, they don’t know anything anymore. The business manager calls this outsourcing, and only realizes that it was a stupid idea, when he is suddenly all alone in his huge corporate headquarters. Life has become easy. Alexa, Siri or Cortana are just a foretaste of what will come in a few years. The digital all-round carefree service. We want to know something, order something, dim the lights, keep the water in the bathtub at the right temperature, never forget your wedding day again – no more WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS problems.
Some people are afraid of this thought, they will not be able to prevent it. is progressing at a rapid pace. Of course, the poor digitalized technology can do little for its bad image, since it is not to blame for its rapid speed. At the end of the day, it’s all humanity with its rigid impulse going forward. It used to take us across oceans, which is why men like Fernando de Magellanes and James Cook sailed around the world. However, since Mars missions are comparatively expensive, progress today must be digital. And with the help of Virtual Reality we can finally put our feet into the dusty ground of the red planet, without a space suit and fear of the dangerous radiation.
And what should those who don’t want to be there, do? Do you join those who already walk around with homemade hats, made of aluminum foil, because you think you are protecting your brain from rays, that control your thoughts? Will there ever be small retreats, surrounded by jammers, in which digitization does not take place and man – God forbid – is thrown back on himself, and his own ability, to be able to survive? Or will the last digital deniers one day flee to the Alps and lead a simple life, as those people who in Michel Houllebecq’s novel “Atomised” did not want to submit, to a complete genetic modification?
In the end, we will have no choice, but to try to keep up with developments. To understand them and perhaps, at least to help shape them a little. To refuse totally, seems to me to be no less stupid, than to surrender to it like a force of nature.
Thomas Matterne writes stories since he can write. His first professional path, however, was a job as an online journalist at a local TV station. While he works now more in the field of PR and marketing, he is also still a passionate blogger.