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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Culture ")

Sex In Driverless Cars? Updated With Video!
'...admirable for petting.' - David H. Keller, 1935.

Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.' - William Gibson, 1996.

Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...' - Philip K. Dick, 1964.

Disney Keeps Backups Of Star Wars Franchise Actors
'She is a personality-construct, a congeries of software agents...' - William Gibson, 1996.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.