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 ")

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.' - Bruce Sterling, 1985.

Bot Tweets Venmo Drug Transactions
An alarming item to find on your twitter feed.

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'- Philip Jose Farmer, 1967.

 

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

Sleeep PRO Earplug For Maximum Rest
'Merton... placed the electrodes of the sleep-inducer on his forehead.'

Inspired By Japan, Nap Pods For Hajj
It's always a good time for a nap.

Amphibio 3D Printed Gill Shirt
'... we can descend and live down there at one of those year-round aquatic resorts.'

How Do You Put An Asteroid Into Earth Orbit? Carefully!
'...she would have to be coaxed by another series of pats into a circular orbit.'

PD Aerospace Space Plane By 2023
'The sleek, tapered space shuttle lay immobile upon the private landing field...'

Foldimate Folds Your Clothes Perfectly
Look ma, my room is clean! I can hear you now.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

International Space Station Leak Plugged - With Finger
'These tag-alongs search out stray leaks.'

Robot Snake Flies, Fights Fires
Just a prototype, but still amazing.

IPAL Chinese Robot Babysitter
'But Nanny is different...'

ZKZM-500 LASER Assault Rifle
'The Iranian reached back into the locker and got a pair of laserifles.'

LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'

Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'

PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."

Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'

DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'

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.