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The paradox of being

In a world of 24/7 comms, it seems people are at record levels of disconnection

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Aliens, turn round and go home. We're not sure we can teach you anything
Aliens, turn round and go home. We're not sure we can teach you anything

A huge cigar-shaped object currently cruising in our solar system assumed to be an interstellar asteroid could, according to eminent scientists (Stephen Hawking among them), be an alien spaceship.

 

Bad timing. Rather like returning home only to find your teenage sons have had a two-day party binge and turned your home into a beer-sodden skip, the only intelligent thing to do is to turn round and leave.

 

Or maybe Aliens, perhaps you should stay! Hover above and learn from our mistakes because we don’t seem to be able to.

 

One of our highlighted news stories this week reports on the paradox of the IoT in that we recognise its value, yet don’t understand or trust it.

 

It feels to me like we’re in one almighty paradox. Facebook, the social media platform that supposedly brings the world together has been denounced by www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/12/11/facebook-destroying-society-works-former-executive-says)" href="(www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/12/11/facebook-destroying-society-works-former-executive-says)">Chamath Palihapitiya, one of its early day developers just this week as a tool that actually rips society apart, “eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”

 

In a world of 24/7 comms, it seems people are at record levels of disconnection. At a roundtable event I attended last week on digital health, many health practitioners bought up the subject of loneliness and social isolation, and how much these conditions actually cost the economy. Frequent cups of tea with a friendly face outweigh any fancy technology.

 

And then there’s time. Technology was supposed to give us more time, but in fact, it has eroded it even more because we can pack even more in. Do everything last minute, make those changes. Be unreasonable. Work round the clock.

 

Take digital disruption, the means by which goods and services offered by traditional companies is toppled by those offering cheaper substitutions. On the face of it, DD makes life easier and cheaper for the consumer, but you also have to ask yourself, how much does society really pay in the drive to push down costs and dismember checks and balances?

 

The smart city concept is worthwhile because there really is seriously game-changing technology that can be applied for the greater good. And we need it to deal with the cocktail of challenges that over-population, climate change and a scarcity of resource brings.

 

The same thing that makes you live, can kill you in the end, sang Neil Young eons ago. The paradox about technology is that the very tools we create to help us, can actually produce a world of problems all of their own.

 

Melony Rocque

Executive editor

 

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