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 ")

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

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?' - Richard Morgan, 2003.

TMS Decreases Belief In God, Increases Belief In Immigrants
'... Setting up the same currents, the same basic ideas, in them all.' - Edmond Hamilton, 1938.

Blockchain Used To Verify Election Results
'Any adult could punch into the phone his or her code, followed by a yes or no.' - John Brunner, 1975.

 

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

Ontario Starts Guaranteed Minimum Income
'Earned by just being born.'

Is There Life In Outer Space? Will We Recognize It?
'The antennae of the Life Detector atop the OP swept back and forth...'

Space Traumapod For Surgery In Spacecraft
' It was a ... coffin, form-fitted to Nessus himself...'

Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.'

A Space Ship On My Back
''Darn clever, these suits,' he murmured.'

Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.

Fuli Bad Dog Robot Is 'Auspicious Raccoon Dog' Bot
Bad dog, Fuli. Bad dog.

Las Vegas Humans Ready To Strike Over Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot... had to be compensated.'

You'll Regrow That Limb, One Day
'... forcing the energy transfer which allowed him to regrow his lost fingers.'

Elon Musk Seeks To Create 1941 Heinlein Speedster
'The car surged and lifted, clearing its top by a negligible margin.'

Somnox Sleep Robot - Your Sleepytime Cuddlebot
Science fiction authors are serious about sleep, too.

Real-Life Macau or Ghost In The Shell
Art imitates life imitates art.

Has Climate Change Already Been Solved By Aliens?
'I had explained," said Nessus, "that our civilisation was dying in its own waste heat.'

First 3D Printed Human Corneas From Stem Cells
Just what we need! Lots of spare parts.

VirtualHome: Teaching Robots To Do Chores Around The House
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? - any work a human being does around a house.'

Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI) Workshop
SF writers have thought about this since the 19th century.

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.