A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
An interesting article on how you can save your sanity by giving up some of our most modern conveniences appeared a while ago (see Save Your Sanity. Downgrade Your Life via NYTimes).
Over the past few years, as my work life has accelerated at boggling speed, my personal life has begun creeping backward toward the 20th century. Like carbon offsets, each decision to remove a technology at home makes the corresponding upgrade at work feel more acceptable. Work: Slack, our latest instant-messaging program, replaces conversation as a way of conveying simple queries. Home: Devices are banned from bedrooms. Work: Upgrade to new “content management system.” Home: Netflix account to remain stubbornly DVD-based.
Disruption can be a positive force in the office, but at home it feels the way disruption has always felt: intrusive and annoying. At home, at least, we have the power to pace the change, to choose the old over the new. These incremental lifestyle downgrades help calibrate a rate of technological change that might otherwise produce a resting state of whiplash. They let me catch my breath.
Even the highest-tech among us seem to feel this need: Digital tweens lust after manual typewriters while techies embrace Maker culture on weekends. People want to use more of their hands than just their thumbs, to get them dirty and scrub them clean afterward.
This requires occasionally putting down the smartphone. According to a 2017 study by the American Psychological Association, more Americans are employing “technology usage management strategies” such as banning cellphones from the dinner table (depressingly, only 28 percent of people do this), taking occasional “digital detoxes” and forbidding devices during family time.
I take as my guide for this the amazing 1976 classic novel The Shockwave Rider by John Brunner. In the story, he details what he calls "paid avoidance zones" that were created after a fictional Great Bay Quake:
The paid-avoidance areas were created as a way of economizing on public expenditure after the Great Bay Quake. It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment. Which they couldn't have afforded anyhow.
...settlements created by refugees from Northern California after the Great Bay Quake. Literally millions of traumatized fugitives had straggled southward. For years they survived in tents and shanties, dependent on federal handouts .. afraid to enter a building with a solid roof for fear it would crash down and kill them.
...One of the best thing about a paid-avoidance area is that you can still get manual cooking.
Far from being a desolate, poor slum, the paid avoidance areas were hotbeds of new technology and culture on an intimately human scale. They were considered highly attractive areas for vacationers.
Perhaps the people of Puerto Rico could show us the way.
Update 23-Oct-2017: Speaking of giving Puerto Rico some off-the-grid, unique technology, see Puerto Rico is currently considering Tesla’s plan for a series of microgrids, says govt official. End update.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/16/2017)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Do Aliens Have A 'Non-Interference' Prime Directive?
'... it was against the law for our people to visit Earth.' - George Parsons Lathrup, 1897.
Collie Dog Suit Fulfills His Dream - Of Walking In Public As A Dog
'The Lon Chaney of the interstellar set.' - Roger Zelazny, 1976.
Jonathan Swift in 1726 Predicted AI-Generated Crap Overwhelming Amazon In 2023
'...the most ignorant person... might write books... without the least assistance from genius or study.' - Jonathan Swift, 1726.
Virtual Reality: Is Technology Alone Enough To Fully Enter A New World?
'Otherwise what good are the Perky Pat layouts to them?' - Philip K. Dick, 1969.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Robotic Hands Have More Than One Use
'The crawling, exploring object was V-Stephen's surgeon-hand...'
Space Weather To Universe Weather
'It radiates outward in a cone which, by the time it has reached our section of space, is many lightyears across.'
That's MOXIE! Terraforming Mars Baby Steps
'Drake was the young spatial engineer he employed to terraform the little rock.'
'No, I'm Not A Robot' - Robot
'... with a weird simulation of life, the ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons.'
Missing Jet Finally Found
Ah, what could have been - still in the future.
Philippines Coast Guard Cuts Chinese Barrier
'Each of the four areas is enclosed by a sonic wall...'
Barista Robot Perfects Latte Swirl With Multi-DOF Wriggle
'It's done with a flip of the third joint of the tentacle on the down beat.'
Vendetta 2023 All-Terrain Skateboard Could Use Neal Stephenson's Smartwheels
'If you surf over a bump... If you surf over a pothole...'
Safe Street Rebel Autonomous Vehicle Luddites And Schachner's 1931 Robot-Deranger
'Then the spreading beam of the deranging ray struck them, and they stood an instant transfixed...'
The Electric Balance Bicycle And The Decline Of Western Civilization
'Noiselessly, on rubber-tired wheels, they journeyed...'
'Droplet' Battery Microscale Power Pack
'...a power pack the size of a pea.'
ARX-5 Doing Robot Arm Dancing
It's Data's day - at last.
CD, DVD Bit Rot And PKD's Civic Notification Distorter
'...copy two of the original document no longer can be superimposed on copy one.'
Inbiodroid Prometheus 2.0 Telepresence Avatar Robot
My prize robot, tall, dashing would speak and act for me...
Amazon One Is Frank Herbert's Palm Lock
'A palm lock must be keyed to one individual's hand shape and palm lines.'
DroneDog Ground Security Robot Dogs From Asylon
'I have transferred the ego of a dog to a synthetic dog brain in the skull case of a robot dog.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories