Nov 13 Written by 

Moving Away From the Computer

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There's going to be a resistance movement against computers. I sense it. Anti-computer articles will appear. Computerization will be weighed and described as a phenomenon instead of a fact, and its many failings enumerated. People will become suspicious of the instantaneous, and suspicious of images and thoughts and opinions instantly formulated or memed, in the way people now are suspicious of fast food; and they will again weigh their language, and the words in books, and the many forms of human commmunication and experience lived before or outside of the Internet.

It will be understood that not everyone has a computer or Internet access, and those who have never had them will be considered true and unspoiled humanity, like Samoans as portrayed by Margaret Mead. While the computer is a handy tool, we will say it is not the necessity that business and educational institutions believe it is, and business need not be done at the speed of light. The computer will be depopularized and its use subsumed back into the sciences. Emailing will be tacky, Internet information doubtful, and we will be horrified by the commodification of the self and others via the fad we called social media. For the moments when instant communication seems necessary, a premium form of it, classy and acceptable, will be devised for those who read the NYT and listen to NPR.

The effects of the computer, cellphone, and advertising on human health and development will be studied and decried: stress, brain tumors, back problems, low-level radiation. The Internet's peculiar insanities -- spam, phishing, spyware, carpal tunnel syndrome, NaNoWriMo, GoogleMaps photos of every street and dwelling on the planet, addiction to games and Internet porn -- and frustrations (dammit! Why can't I make that spreadsheet work?!) will be called insanities. Specialized therapy will help wean users from the Internet. Private schools will teach restraint, courtesy, and the art of conversation. Privacy will be reclaimed as a value and personal meetings and appearances rationed and romanticized. Giving a third-grader an iPad will be a crime, because it will stunt him socially and intellectually and perhaps turn him criminal; expect to see established a legal age for possession and ownership. Children will be tracked and tied to their guardians by means other than handsets, which only the lowest sectors of society will prize.

The writer's part in all this? Just keep doing what you're doing. Your reward will arrive.
Catherine Rankovic

Writer, with 30+ years' writing and publishing experience, 20+ years' teaching experience. Last book read: Mrs. Lincoln by Catherine Clinton.