Do we really need technology everywhere in our lives? Have we taken it too far?

Now this is not a post about me being cynical and being worried about cyborgs taking over the world and everyone having government chips implanted in our minds. No, this is just a few examples of places I think that technology does not need to be, or is being used just to be used.

First of all, don’t get me wrong, I love Tech. I love my Xbox, I spend a lot of time on Instagram and hot damn are those coffee pod machines the best thing ever! But there are some cases I’ve found where technology has made my life a chore, and essentially wasted my time, and time waits for no man.

I drive a 1989 Mk4 Ford Escort, I know, hold the applause, I know it’s awesome. A few years ago we were setting up for quite a harsh winter here in the UK and a local garage, name rhyming with Prick-Shit, was offering a ‘Free Winter Check’; why not eh?! Free is free and after all, Winter is Coming (northern voice); so I ring up: “Hello, winter check please!” “Yes sir! Leave your car outside the garage tonight and we will do it tomorrow” – so I do. Next day after work, I rock up ready for my winter-proof near-classic car, but the Escort is still sat there. So I went into the office and said I was here for the car. “Sorry sir, your car is too old, we can’t plug in into our diagnostic system so there’s nothing we can do.” Now, I’m not sure if I’m speaking out of turn here, but WHAT? This car is what mechanics dream of: simple, easy, MECHANICAL. But apparently Stick-Pit are now a bunch of programmers; next time I need my car serviced I’ll just pop over to PC World! So that annoyed me; I just couldn’t understand how they couldn’t do anything, they are meant to be mechanics! But needless to say, I’ve never been back. I’m not saying that cars with tech components are bad, far from it. I’ve been in some great cars with some awesome features – built in sat-nav, DVD players, cup holders – but this particular occasion I was less than happy.

The second such occasion is less of a one off time, and more of a constant onslaught of shit that I have to deal with on a daily basis. For my day job, I am a Chainsaw Technician. Chainsaws have always been a simple: one piston, handheld engine. This first chainsaw was made in the 1920s, and it’s basic mechanical build up has changed very little since then… until now. Since the chainsaw was invented people have been tinkering, stripping and building the engines, learning basic mechanics; but some bright spark has decided to put an end to all that fun. Nowadays, professional chainsaws made by the market leaders in the field are nearly all “Autotune” or “M-Tronic” – sounds cool eh?! It’s not. Without getting too technical, what this means is that now the chainsaw has a tiny computer in it that is constantly assessing how the machine is running – engine speed, air to fuel ratio, surrounding temperature, and a host of other things. This means the machine “should” never go wrong as it’s always tuning itself to run at optimal performance but obviously, IT DIDN’T WORK.

Picture the scene, you have driven into the Countryside, or trekked into the woods, taken all of your gear, masses of equipment, climbed to the top of a 100ft tree, and your saw doesn’t work. No longer can you whip out a screwdriver and give the tuning a little tweak, no. Now you’ll have to climb down, pack up, trek back, drive to where I will plug it into a PC, assess what should have been an easily solved issue, update the firmware and re-install the software. Now this to me is a waste of time. There was nothing wrong with the original system!

So basically what I’m saying is this. Technology is great, in certain places. But there are places in the world and things in our lives that do not benefit from the invasion of technology. So if you’re reading this and you’re just about to send that email on the Self-Putting-On Socks, or the Automatic Comb, please just stop. Look in the mirror, and do something else with your life.

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