I’ve always been a fan of technology. In the last ten years, I have relied on technology to earn a living (for the most part). But technology is changing faster than ever before and we are powerless against it and hungry for further change and progress.
Although we are perfectly capable of switching our smartphones off, we choose to be connected with emails, social media and so on to the point where we are always reachable, traceable and ready to respond. We like to be connected to the “outside world” for the sheer thrill of it and in fear of being left behind.
It’s true that the first thing I generally look for in a hotel in a foreign country is Internet access, preferably free of charge and unlimited. It just makes the experience of being in a strange city so much more enjoyable, when the link between news and friends remains unbroken.
And as a person who falls into the Generation Y category of age and the stereotypical I-want-it-now outlook on everything, I realise that I will one day also have to stay one step ahead of my children (what technology is concerned) and somehow stay in control.
So where does that leave us?
It would seem that the answer to that question would inevitably change again tomorrow.
In terms of fiction, if technology is heavily used in something written or otherwise, specifically to give it a contemporary feel, is that not the very thing that will fast-track its irrelevance and diminish its place in everyday life?
A car phone referenced a number of decades ago, screams ‘1980s’ and letters speak only of yesterday. If a character in a novel rings a phone and leaves a message or sends an email, it may not be such a big issue as these methods of communication have been around for a while and are still accepted (for now). But if a character posts something on a popular social networking site or grabs her mobile phone to find a place on an electronic map, how long will it be until that in itself has dated?
I’m in a unique situation where I can’t introduce too much technology to the novel I’m currently working on, or the timelines just won’t make sense. Part of the novel takes place in controversial South Africa in the late 80s and the rest in the “here and the now” (with a slight time delay). But I don’t want the scenes in today’s time to seem old either.
So I’ll stick with email and non-specific mobile phones and hope that in a space of a few years’ time, we won’t be answering phones in our minds without so much as pressing a button or projecting a map of the surrounding area onto a wall by simply holding our palms next to a light nearby.
I know, that sounds ridiculous.
Or does it?