Technological Determinism And Futurism.

I definitely lost points on the Sneaky Scale at 9:07am today. 

Having ignored a very persistent and irritatingly repetitive Nokia alarm, I did what any self-respecting young adult still living at home and has to be somewhere in twenty minutes does: I convinced my Mum to drive me to Uni. 

A sixteen year old nattered away somewhere in the background of the backseat. A stringy voice urging me to look, yes turn fully around and look, at a bright, too bright, Macbook Pro screen. Something she had to do for photography. Crucial to take the laptop to school. Muttering something incredibly uplifting and encouraging under my breath, the family car heaved up the hill. My mother mourned the destruction of peonies and adjusted her accelerator/brake ratio accordingly. We travelled slower than the speed of our internet last month. I was in a rush. I was tired. This was going to take longer than I last remembered. Checking the cracked screen on my very expensive Nokia Mobile Cell-Phone, and channelling a wee too much Daria, I announced Mum would never make the cut for Drive. Sorry Mum.

Plastic container of lunch in plastic bag one hand, I waved a feeble goodbye with the other. Yes, my Mum dropped me at the gates of University. No, this certainly is not the first or last time this is bound to occur. Summoning all measures of Sneak, I approached WE230 lecture hall with practiced caution. You've done this before I chanted, gripping the heavy handle and drawing a deep breath.

There comes a time in every Sneak's life when said sneakiness is put to the spot-lit test. Today it came in the form of the Sneak of Shame at 9:07am. Scampering across a packed lecture theatre, light striking a less than Sneaky profile meant a shadowed Sneak was cast onto a meringue-white screen where words were. Seven very long seconds later I had made it. It was all over. Or so I thought. Rifling through a bag packed by a Sneak with no time, pens were conveniently stuffed between loose paper, some useful string and a film canister lid. Assembling tools and adjusting Sneaky eyes, to sight an, OHP? You can imagine my surprise! An OHP in a media course? Now that's a curious decision. Especially when said lecture is entitled, "Technological Determinism and Futurism".

It started as an Over-Head-Projector. It ended 53 minutes later Oh-How-Painfully. 

It's hard to take someone whose asking you to question the the rate of technological development, to engage with the unlimited possibilities in the future of technology, to understand technological determinism, seriously, when it's undetermined if the speaker has themselves been introduced to this thing, it's called Microsoft Powerpoint. Auckland University of Tech-......

So apparently we are living in the future. Good thing I've seen Star Wars I know what to do. Just as Social Determinism shaped and shapes the way we live, it's expected that so too is Technological Determinism; the notion that we live according to technology and the lifestyles it provides us with. In the early 80's it was "The PC Revolution". The 90's coined the super-easy-roll-off-your-tounge phrase: "The Information Super-Highway", which of course saw the development of the World Wide Web and Cyber Space. The cover of Time magazine in a 1994 edition read: "The strange new world of the Internet: Battles on the frontier of Cyberspace." It had this weird alien thing on the front, and some guy, possibly a human, on this weird motorcycle space machine thing blasting away into the galaxy. He looked cool. He looked free.

I feel like I've copped a lot of flak, or whatever else it is you 'cop' when people describe the generation I was born into. In case you weren't aware, we are selfish. We are self-promoters. And apparently we live in a generation of entitlement. We want everything we want it now rah rahh ra put it in an app and we'll put it on our tablets where everything else is that we want sits. Lecturer who likes OHPs said tablets are about enhancing our lives. Convergence convergence convergence. He didn't mention the absence of people in it as a result. It's not a UsPad. There is no OurPhone. 

One reason we're said to 'buy in' is because of the way technology is humanised in it's advertising. Products are positioned to seem to enhance social life, in no way taking from it. Social Networking is proof alone, the notion that the more you network, the more socially sound you will be. iDon't believe you. And if cell-phones are indeed solely responsible for enhancing our social lives, I've perhaps got a bit of catch-up work to do. Humanising seems like a good idea for technological determinism, we speak everyday as though our gadgets are living as much as we are. Our smarter-than-us phones "die". We, die. Until the time 100% battery has been achieved and we can breathe a sigh of heavy relief that yes, life can go on. Sneaky Sneak doesn't like Facebook. Zero people like this. Phone's don't die. They stop working. There are no funerals for iPhone 3's. Only iPhone 4 launches.

In the final minutes of the 53 today, I was told I had to keep up with the technological advancement wave my generation was faced with, or subsequently choose to be left behind. I felt like Noah when he was standing outside a very giant boat in a very long and very impressive drought. I felt like I was on my own. I looked down, my face cracked in the reflection of my Nokia screen and sustained a broken smile. I put my mini leather Collins dictionary back in my bag. I folded my lecture book in two and tucked it under my arm. 

I walked out of WE230 in the knowledge that technology I would one day use hadn't been designed yet. And in the meantime only a Sneaky Sneak could resist being left behind.


(Binary Solo: Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero Zero One. Click title for much more of this fun.)

1 comment:

  1. The 5th follower7.3.12

    HAHA Very good!