Thursday 7 December 2006


Technology is moving so fast, growing around us like genetically modified ivy. We barely notice. We accept it. It is progress after all. But it is changing us. 12 years ago I didn’t know how to use a computer, never had one, been the wrong age at school. Now I use computers all the time. Barely a day goes by without that familiar DONG of a Mac booting up. This progress goes on around us without the blink of an eye. We are subsumed by it. We accept it. Before we know it we’re surrounded. We expect, and we take for granted. We are enriched, developed. Developing world - catch up. Our nature is being changed. We are evolving.

Something struck me while listening to Radio 4 one Sunday on the computer in my studio. My wife was listening to the same programme on a digital radio in the room directly below. The ‘live’ audience laughed below me, then a few seconds later they laughed in the room I was in. Later the News! Pips pipped. Then they pipped again. What time is now? Digital delay? That was a foot pedal I used when I was in a band. Now, which is reality and which is the delay? Can we rely on either?

When I was a boy I was obsessed with my first wristwatch telling the right time and I would set it daily against the pips. Time can no longer be trusted! What is now? What is experience? Time no longer matters. Sorry Flavor Flav, but knowing ‘what time it is’ is so old school, silly rabbit! We are evolving.

We no longer trust our ears. What is the point of the pips and Greenwich meantime now? We are developing a world supposedly better by design. Trust those that tell us this is the future. This is progress and progress can only go in one direction. Our mental environment is being re-calibrated. We are evolving.

A generation of teenagers know no different. Now is their benchmark. Now is their norm. Google is their first point of call for ideas – not their peers, not their environment, not their experiences, not their community. Art & design students rush to Google images for their source material instead of generating it for themselves. is editable ‘truth’. Like the ‘live’ audience, you just had to be there to know. Did it really happen if you didn’t witness it? Can you be sure it did happen if you were there and someone edits your version of events? Does a tree falling in a forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it? But that way is scary, that way leads to Holocaust denial. Can we catch the repeat, the listen again, the pod cast, the download? The future is here and the past has been left behind. We have evolved and I'm still making my mind up about it!

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