Recently, while on holiday in Mexico (a rare occasion I didn’t have to try too hard to be #AlwaysOff, as the Wifi was so damn terrible)...
A discussion arose about the one development in modern society that has changed life as we know it so inexplicably.
Key advances in medicine? Surely. Global travel being made more accessible by air? Absolutely. But the hands-down winner was the information-overload and ever-connectedness that the dawn of the smartphone brought upon us.
Not all that long ago, to find out something you didn’t happen to have sufficient knowledge on, your options included; making a trip to the library, consulting an encyclopedia or asking someone who might be more educated on the matter to enlighten you.
But now, everything we could ever want to know about sits in the palm of our hand, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
We’ve evolved from the first generation of mobile users – those who only knew brick-sized phones, calculator-like LCD screens and voice calling, progressed beyond the 3G era which ushered in mobile internet, and arrived at the Age of 4G – which made possible all we have come to expect of mobile broadband: streaming video and audio; instantaneous ride-hailing; the explosion of social media. All in the space of about thirty years.
5G is the next generation in digital. The technology promises to change our lives by connecting everything around us 100 times faster than the current speeds we’re familiar with. 5G heralds the reign of augmented reality (AR), transforming everything from travel to real estate, healthcare to education. Those in the tech-world liken moving from 4G to 5G as that of moving from typewriter to computer.
But as technological advancements rage on and being ‘always on’ is blamed as the rock we’ll all perish on, there’s a quote by Jack Kerouac that gives me solace….
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles.”
Well, the never yawning or saying a commonplace thing part aside, this digital age allows us all to be “mad ones”. We’re each afforded the opportunity to burn through topics well beyond the realms of where we’re from, what schools we went to, the jobs we do or the opinions/beliefs of our parents.
This digital age allows us to be constantly curious. True, constantly answerable and constantly processing too, but for me, the trade-off is so wholly worth it.
This month on irishtatler.com, we endeavour to exploit the full extent of our curiosities, both championing and analysing our ‘always on’ culture and seeking out all that is authentic in our online and IRL lives.
So, until next time, this is it.