What does it portend when wifi trumps the beach?

I was lucky enough to find myself on a beautiful island in Thailand last winter and I remember being struck by the sight of a group of young backpackers sitting together at the local beach bar at sunset. Each of them were swiping and tapping their phones, they weren’t talking to each other and they certainly weren’t watching the sunset. The local hotelier told us he had nearly had a riot on his hands the previous week when the internet had been out for a couple of days due to a storm. This was paradise on earth but most of the guests weren’t there, they were somewhere else, they were in screen world. I hear similar stories all the time, it’s the new norm, so who can blame Kai featured in this video clip for preferring his room with a wifi connection over the beach without wifi? At least he is being honest.

 

It’s not Kai’s fault, nor that of those backpackers, our tech is being designed to hook us in, and it’s hard to fight it. Stepping away from our tech requires conscious effort and is an ongoing battle for most of us. It’s already hard enough to do today, so what is it going to be like in 10 or 20 years time when our tech is even more sophisticated, when smart machines are embedded into every aspect of our lives, when many of us can’t even remember a time when watching the sunset uninterrupted and unaided was a thing you did?

Maybe there will be a backlash, but I fear that, right now, we are frogs in boiling water unaware of the danger and finally we’ll all be cooked to death.

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