Can You Slow Down When Your Tech is Speeding Up?

How Fast is Too Fast?

Steven Wright, the iconic stand-up comedian, once responded to his view on rapidly developing technology in society by saying that “everything is going too fast.”  Do you agree with this? It seems like human beings have a built in penchant for wanting to speed everything up. We want instant information from our computers. We want phones that we can carry with us anywhere so we can constantly be in touch with business associates or people we care about. Our big cities are dedicated to creating rapid transit systems so that it takes you the minimal amount of time to get from one place to another.

Even our entertainment is designed to rapidly force-feed us a sense of enjoyment or need. Have you ever stopped and looked at, really looked at a commercial that comes on between breaks in a favorite TV show? In a matter of just seconds, the advertiser is trying to convince you that their product is one you absolutely have to rush out and get, right now, while supplies last. The funniest thing about this is that the trend has spilled over into the nightly news broadcasts as well. Pay attention to a newscaster closely and notice how fast they talk now. They have almost become like auctioneers, rapidly barking out the news so that they can cram stories into three minute segments, supposedly enlightening and intriguing us to the fast paced travails of global society at large. Who talks that fast in real life? Try it and see if anyone listens to what you have to say.

Car dealers employ the same sort of tactic. Whenever you go shopping for a car, its not uncommon for the dealer to try to create a sense of urgency to buy in your mind with whatever model you fixate on. I once went shopping with my brother for a PT Cruiser and a local dealer had a gold colored one that he liked. We drove it around and it handled rather poorly and seemed like it would not be safe in a northern climate in winter, where we lived, so we mutually agreed it wasn’t a good choice. Yet even telling the dealer this, he still tried to convince us that we had better scoop it up right away. He said he had three other people interested in it and it would be gone by the weekend if we didn’t buy it. Driving past the dealership several months later, it still continued to sit on the lot in the same place we had first spotted it from… Seems like the fast paced image he had painted for us of car sales was, an illusion (or a wish) of his own mind.

Having experiences like this as I’ve gotten older has motivated me to take Steven Wright’s side more and more. Though I have a computer science education, I went from Windows 98 to Vista, skipping over XP entirely and not missing it in the process. I haven’t had a “smart phone” with Internet access since they first thought up the things. Do you find that the purpose of technology is just to sell more technology? It seems like we are living under a vast marketing umbrella in the modern era that has the sole purpose of convincing us we don’t have enough time, and we desperately need that 5G device over the 4G one if we want to keep up. Do you have a 4G phone and feel slow, and outdated now?

I’m still stuck back at the 0G level, and happy to be there.