The machine that ruined the world?

I guess for some people, progress is all about ruining the fun for other people. For every person who tells you how easy it is for things to get done today, for every guy who never needs to ask for directions again, there’s someone who just wishes the good old days would come back.

Even though it’s not Fun Friday, we present to you TechRadar’s 10 Technologies that are completely ruining your fun. In this article which first ran several years ago, author Gary Marshall talks about ten things, starting with Blackberries, that have made the world a less fun place. Rather than ruining all of them, let’s talk in generalities. In the four years since, we’ve become complacent about the role that some of these gadgets have in our lives, and maybe it’s time to look back to a time when we were still struggling to integrate what we now think of as must-have tech.

It’s easy to say that technology has made us more insular, more paranoid, and more than anything created a 24/7 information barrage that makes us all seem like hyperactive chickens. On the other hand, technology makes it possible to work from home, to leave the office without missing calls that keep our jobs meaningful, to get where we are going quickly and know that if a memorable moment is coming we’ll be ready to document it.

Think for a second about the world of 1977, just forty years ago. It could take 2-3 days for people to get together on the phone, which was probably ok because without e-mails it took the same amount of time to get a letter from place to place. Driving somewhere? Better bring a big map with you and hope you don’t get into an accident while looking at it. Oh, and if you really think something’s worth documenting you’d better bring that instamatic camera and be prepared to pay through the nose for film developing.

Of course that doesn’t even scratch the surface of the changes that make life better every day. Advanced medicines, high-definition imaging, instant messaging, video chat… and let’s not forget the whole idea of being able to learn anything at any time from anywhere… the average person has more knowledge available to him while sitting in bed than the world’s top scholars had in any library just 25 years ago.

Technology may not always make life better and in fact you may wish for the good old days of polio and outdoor plumbing now and again, but there’s no getting around the fact that on balance, the future looks bright.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.