Last week I had my third ‘pavement collision’ caused by my having my face glued to my phone whilst trying to follow directions to the nearest Pizza Express. The collision was bad enough to cause me to reflect on whether the accident was excusable. Could I justify bumping into an innocent tourist in order to make it to Pizza Express? Debatable…
What this experience highlights is our rapidly increasing dependence on technology, and the ‘side-effects’ this can have. One frequently discussed outcome is that we no longer look up at the friend sitting next to us, or the sunset in the distance – our head is often down, frantically refreshing our news feeds as if we could just feel that someone was about to comment on how good we look in that selfie at Nandos.
Certainly there are various downsides that one can claim to be a result of our being more connected. However anyone with a considered and balanced opinion on whether the Digital Revolution is a good or bad should appreciate that it has both positive and negative outcomes. Which outcomes are weightier is, in my opinion, not an easy evaluation.
Here are some reasons why modern connectivity is good. Firstly, increased connectedness is helping me find my way to Pizza Express. It is helping governments prevent terrorist attacks and is enabling lovers to skype each other from different ends of the globe. Billions of people are being connected each day to help them share information, opinions and increasingly, resources. Indeed the emerging sharing economy is making use of evolving digital technologies to help you save money by connecting you with someone you can borrow a tent or surfboard from, or get a lift to a festival with.
Connective technologies are also having an astonishing impact in other sectors, such as the health sector; helping individuals monitor their health and send information directly to doctors. Sites like PatientLikeMe, also connects people with similar medical conditions so they can support each other online.
Whether increasing connectedness is going to be overall a positive or negative development – one thing is for sure the word ‘connected’ will continue to have an increasingly technological meaning. Where 40 years ago ‘connected’ would have been used to describe someone who rubs shoulders with all the ‘right’ people, today it is more likely to be used by a teenager explaining to their dad why their social life will implode if the broadband is not fixed within the next five minutes.
This year, I was unable to resist buying a portable charger to bring to a festival. The thought of not being able to take blurry pictures or arrange to meet ‘under the big sign’ was truly terrifying. As a result of not wanting any fellow Liftsharer to go through such an ordeal, we are offering you the chance of winning a solar powered phone charger for signing up to Liftshare. This way, if your mates think it’s funny to drive home from the festival without you, you can charge your phone, and use our app to find a lift home. Hopefully you’ll also make some new friends in the process. To be entered, simply sign up to Liftshare through this link.
Author Lucie Boyle