We have finally cracked it. Harold Camping may have been wrong in his predictions for the end of the world, the Mayans have yet to be proven wrong and I too may have been slightly out in mine with the idea of a coming zombie apocalypse but we have finally worked out how the world really will come to an end. It is as follows:
For years people have said how there will eventually be an entire generation entirely dependant on technology, from the mass hysteria that came with the idea of a world-wide communication and financial meltdown resulting from a simple computer glitch that had actually been sorted years before, to the release of the iPad. We believe that generation is almost upon us. I consider myself proud to be of such an age that I can remember the days before the mass use of mobile phones, when computers had green screens and you didn’t even know what a fax was. We can reminisce about the fall of Betamax and the shocking rise in VHS, the days when preschool entertainment contained characters that could actually speak english (all be it through a narrator/translator from time to time) instead of just their own name and involved nothing more than hideously over egged moral messages at the end of a washed out cartoon. We knew of Ray Mears and (theoretically) how to whittle an arrow, build a fire or even make a rudimentary shelter from leaves, branches and the thigh bones of all the deer you caught in your pit full of spikes (thank you Arnie). It is, of course, not us . No it is our children who will be the end of us all. By the time our children are fully grown the sickeningly good technology we have in development now will be old hat and we will be tuned out by our toddling grandchildren with the audio chip implanted in their heads at birth, which plays any kind of music directly into their brains (yet they’re still listening to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd because true quality will always stand the test of time). There will be no such thing as grass, pigs will have finally caught a break and evolved wings, taking a dump will cost you more than you paid for your first house and religion will be obsolete. I honestly had a conversation with someone recently who didn’t know what i meant when i said vinyl until i gave her a little prod in the right direction and then it all fell into place with an “Oh yeah, my grampy’s got loads of them.” This made me sad. Not sad for the musical world because one day my collection might be worth a lot, not sad for her and her young and modern mind, but sad to the very depths of my soul for I had seen the beginning of the end, and there it was, stood before me with fake tan, Nike shoes and an iPod in its back pocket. This is where the theory really begins of course. One day, many many years from now (at least I hope) the following generations will have lost all semblance of humanity and all inter-personal relationships will be purely digital and looking someone in the eye will be almost impossible due to the fact that everyone will actually be cross-eyed from spending too long trying to hold a real life conversation whilst poking, tweeting at and tagging photos of the very same person on their iPhone. Of course corrective eye surgery will be readily available to everyone on the NHS but it will all be conducted though some kind of app and if you’re lucky you might not lose your signal halfway though. For the first time in history we are at a sort of evolutionary crossroads where survival of the fittest has not been shelved in favour of the new idea of survival of the savviest. If you aren’t fully IT capable within the next few years you may want to start picking your nursing home as I assure you it won’t be long until your beloved grandchildren send you packing. If you don’t own a smart phone that you upgrade every 12 months or any kind of apple product then, trust me, you won’t be far behind your parents. We are no longer evolving on a physical level and certainly not on an intellectual level either as Google replaces the need to ask questions and Wikipedia gently twists history even more in the direction of the victor. Technology means we no longer have to think for ourselves and certainly have no need to internally store information in our brains (no matter what science comes up with in the future, the human brain will ALWAYS be the pinacle of engineering), we have jumped from the ascent of man in all his glory to the possibility of working backwards in the future. My mother once told me that in the future we will no longer have opposable thumbs and instead we will develop some form of claw like appendage stuck to the side of our hands with which to text with maximum efficiency. With life being conducted more and more online it is only a matter of time before social interaction of any kind is almost frowned upon. I know I too am guilty of these things. I have a Facebook account, email and online banking, I publish these posts on the internet to try to spread my message and I even met “the Dude” on the internet but more than all of these things I am still human and crave physical interaction with my peers. Whilst I will continue to use the internet to the fullest and I will move with the times in terms of technological advances when they genuinely benefit my life I refuse to let it become the be-all and end-all. I will not bow to the peer pressure and go out and sell my granny to buy the newest iPhone just so that I can have it read my text messages to me (because of course we dont even need to be able to read anymore!). I will treasure my vinyl collection, I will display my favourite VHS tapes on the wall as a form of nostalgic art, I will meet my friends at the park and not in an online forum and I will only get a new phone when this one ceases to be.
On the day when I look to the darkened sky and see the Tim Cook and Bill Gates standing arm in arm on a balcony of some sort of Death Star slowly rolling across the horizon and blocking out the sun I will know that the end truly is nigh and I will give up. But until then, I live in hope.