Yesterday, my taxi driver asked me where I was going despite already having the postcode on his dash board Sat Nav. This led to a fascinating conversation about young people and technology. Kamel’s daughter is unable to drive anywhere without using her Sat Nav and has absolutely no map reading skills. He, as a middle aged man, prefers to use this technology as an extra rather than having to rely solely on it to fulfil his navigational responsibilities.
I remember a few years ago, there was a problem with a satellite which, for a few hours, rendered GPS systems in London useless. Everywhere, there were parked up minicab drivers desperately studying A-Zs whilst the traditional London Black Cab drivers carried on smugly armed with ‘The Knowledge’. Knowledge is power as they say and this brief incident qualified this saying irrefutably.
In the very early 1980s, my dad bought our family one of the first ‘pocket calculators’. This device was the size of a novel, had a green LED display, chunky buttons and could add up, take away, divide and multiply. As a newly self employed tradesman, dad wanted this new technology to help him with his books and to eliminate potential mistakes when compiling customers estimates. I, on the other hand, as an innately lazy boy saw this as a gift from god to make maths homework go away quicker. Alas, the new slave was kept well and truly locked away in dad’s bureau and I was forced to rely on my brain to calculate the area of a triangle.
Everyday, I am astonished at young people’s lack of general knowledge where the capital city of the country they live in is a mystery and they believe the British Prime Minister to be Donald Trump! Their reaction is a default ” I ‘Google it’ if I need to know”. The ‘Download Mentality’. More head space is needed to accommodate the goings on of ‘Love Island’, X Factor and what happened to Jane on Eastenders last night. All very important when you need to interact daily with other technology dependant autonomous beings but absolutely useless for anything of meaning.
I would like you to consider for a moment a post apocalyptic world where we have been bombed back to the stone age. Yes, there will be pockets of people who have been protected by Governments along with modern technology to help rebuild society but the vast majority of humanity will simply be starting again from scratch. Now, I am aware of electricity and use it everyday, but would have no idea how to make it. The very basic act of extracting iron ore and making simple tools would be impossible for me let alone reproducing the technology we have become so dependant on in our daily lives.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs will be our starting point but the very basic of skills needed to fulfil these are unknown to most and we would perish at the earliest stage.
In this post apocalyptic world, the new Royalty will be farmers, thinkers and those with the ability to prioritise. It is no coincidence that the developing countries who do not have the internet on tap are those with the highest expectations of education and truly appreciate the need for learning and self development.
Let us embrace new technologies but see them as additions to what me must do for ourselves as biological machines in order to protect and ensure our status on this planet. I am pretty sure that bees do not have Sat Navs!