Humanity’s achievements have been the result of not just the opposable thumb, consider that more a base foundation, but primarily the discovery and refinement of different types of power; more directly our almost instinctive ability to harness, process and utilise it. One cannot deny the the very first one was fire but the next real big one was steam (let’s not even consider going down the druid route!). The came gas but that was a mere blip compared to electricity and electricity has remained the most important requirement in today’ world, whether it be generated by oil/gas/hydro/bio/solar or nuclear energy it is the end result of electricity that we have based today’s technological dream upon. Currently we are still in what is termed the technological revolution. The Industrial Revolution was a great hulking brute compared to the delicate, almost ephemeral, advancements that are made today. But the biggest change that is occuring now does not have a physical form; it is social in nature with the advent of social networking and greater online communications. I have seen children texting each other whilst in the same room. My husband has even texted me, when we were both at home, enquiring after dinner. Perhaps worse is that I texted my reply. It doesn’ stop there. The original text facility on mobile phones spawned a new language to reduce the number of key presses and when devices with full keyboards (touch-screen or otherwise) came onto the market the new language remained, creeping not only into email communications and social networking but also into written work (an exam board even accepted a text-speech written paper). Now I see it creeping into language with kids saying ‘kk’ instead of okay, ‘lol’ instead of actually laughing, ‘smiley’ when they want to express a liking for something… The knock-on effect to social interaction cannot be measured but I see groups of children in the park clustered in groups, heads down, fingers flying over the little gadgets in their palms. My daughter was baking the other day and every few minutes her phone would emit an annoying beep. She would check it, reply and continue. I cannot get her to multi-task in any other area of her life, but her Blackberry (oh yes, there are factions and my daughter is an advocate of the Blackberry regimen) is now an extension of her. Ask any child in secondary school what they could not live without and I guarantee 80% will say their mobile phone. The only downtime our poor brains have is when we sleep otherwise we are constantly bombarded with words and information. This includes when we are playing sports (with the exception of swimming). Would you believe I have seen a player at a local football friendly stop and answer a call? I can only wonder how this will future Olympics tournaments.
But we need a new name for this revolution we find ourselves gleefully drowning in. ‘Technological’ is too restrictive and physical. Any ideas?