Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Paradox of Ambient Awareness

by Steve Tuffill - Tuesday, 9 September 2008, 04:05 PM

We stride down the pathway of life, looking straight ahead and glancing through the facility of our electronic peripheral vision, at Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and MySpace, to observe our transitory contacts (we don't dare call them "friends" do we?)

Another email pops up, glancing at it, I carry on valiantly with the dissertation I am writing on the meaning of life, thinking that it is all pretty meaningless without some form of physical contact.

However, that contact is "tissue-thin" and just as fragile. Have you noticed how close people can get to each other in Asia? It is way closer than my North American comfort zone... Try Alaska, it's far safer.

Going to work, I am wired to my Blackberry, typing with one hand as I listen to the tele-conference with one ear and take technical support calls with my free hand jammed over the other, while whichever spare finger I have makes last-minute configuration changes on a light-sensitive keyboard to a distant server.

My brain hurts with the abuse. Where were the banks of green willow, I find myself asking? What happened to the autumn days where the weather was cool and the sky was blue? Where were the hours that were uncountable? Everything has been captured in a little box, for later retrieval. When? I hear you ask? Whenever...

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