Could 2015 be the year we turn our backs on technology in favour of a simpler life?
- Credit: PA
Sheena Grant’s Year of Thrifty Living
It looks like 2015 could be my year. According to those in the know, the next 12 months could see people turning their backs on technology in favour of the simple life.
This prediction is made by communication agency Hotwire in its ‘digital trends report’. Apparently, this “neo-Luddite” movement is a reaction against some of the more negative things brought about by technology, such as invasive advertising and concerns about online privacy.
According to the report, it’s becoming unfashionable to use too much technology in some circles, where a move back to the simpler things in life, such as camping and home cooking, is de rigueur. And it’s not just thrifty dinosaurs like me who feel this way. It’s young people too, apparently.
I like this prediction but somehow I doubt it’s going to assume the proportions of a Nostradamus prophecy. The other thing I like about the report is that it’s given me something I can identify with. I’ve been a neo-Luddite for years. I just never knew it.
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To call someone a “Luddite” has long been a term of abuse. Like the original Luddites, who smashed job-taking machines during the Industrial Revolution, anyone who questions technology is accused of being against progress. It’s an easy way to dismiss an argument without engaging with it. But calling someone a neo-Luddite wouldn’t have quite the same effect, would it? In fact, neo-Luddism is not a new thing. It goes back to the postwar period. If you despise the hectoring tones of the supermarket self-check-out till, if you’re driven to despair by the automated voice offering an unending choice of useless options at the end of almost every business phoneline, or don’t want a bank where counter staff have been replaced by computers, maybe you’re a neo-Luddite too. What neo-Luddites hate is not technology itself but the use technology is put to. Replacing people with machines is always driven by increasing profit for the powerful, not improving the lives of the masses.
And who knows where it will end? Some predict technological Armageddon, when artificial intelligence breaks free of human control, in about 2045. Seems fanciful? Not so long ago the idea of drones delivering your post would have seemed unlikely too.
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