Sunday, August 17, 2014

Screen gazers have window on world some can't see

1812 image of Luddites courtesy wikipedia.
TWO centuries ago they went on violent rampages smashing machinery but the Luddites of today are more likely to nod off for a snooze during an Attenborough doco.
There's not much fight left in those who inherited a social label from an anti-technology movement of old.
The archetypal modern-day Luddite is battle weary after a generation of a computing advance that trumps 19th century industrial mechanisation, not only in scale but in general social significance.
Still refusing or unable to own or use computers, our Luddites can only sigh as the world's population transforms into an army of screen gazers – in the street, on the buses, outside the restaurants and probably on the loo – and wonder what the hell they are doing.
It's no joke to be 'on the other side' in this revolution. The resistors are slowly and steadily losing their rights.

THE struggle by septuagenarian 'Bob' of Ormiston to complete normal day-to-day tasks without a computer (Classie Corner, May 30) touched a chord for Redland City tax preparer 'Harry', who asked for his identity to be withheld.
As taxpayers of all levels of technological skills wrestle with their moment of truth to the ATO, the 'Luddites', who are usually retired seniors, face some further difficulties.
Harry says financial statements of many types are now available only online as the paperless militia continues its march and in other cases some banks charge for printed statements.
He cites share holdings and social security payments as two examples where his recent clients have run into difficulties.
Just making a request for a printed statement is, after all, another task and can put someone on a telephone roundabout that is not always user friendly.

AFTER working on computers for many years and with a background in commercial accountancy and the public sector, Harry says he not 'anti technology' but rather questions society's obsession with it.
“Things are getting bulldozed through and people's rights and privileges are being taken from them,” he says.
“We could be talking about one-third of the adult population being marginalised. There is hurt and suffering.”
Harry says computer users are being forced into software upgrades that can mean painful readjustment because of the degree of change in the interface, without apparent reason.

ON the social level, a 'competition addict' in his family complains that almost all the contests are now online, leading to his concern about privacy and the sharing of email addresses, while the 'cloud' concept of data retention also creates issues.
Bob said he had thought about starting some sort of Luddite club but rejected Harry's offer to get involved, apparently preferring to suffer in
Redland City Bulletin. silence.
However, Harry says the modern-day Luddites already need support and the 'ageing population' means the issues will persist.

The text above has featured in the Redland City Bulletin.

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