Here we are, in the 21st Century, the era of mass communications, in which most of the hard work has been done, yet, suggests Iain Robertson, so many aspects of it are like we remain in the Dark Ages.
There was once a time, when we did not own personal communicators. While Captain Kirk could relate with The Bridge from some far-off planet, we were just putting away the semaphore flags.
I can recall being informed that, unless I spent/invested around £1,000 on the latest Motorola mobile telephone, I was going to be left behind, daddio, in a world that was changing so fast, it would make one’s head spin. Yes. I was that man, hefting around a huge black box, with a coiled receiver/hand-set located above its lead-acid battery pack.
Fortunately, with biceps bulging, I eventually owned (some 15 years later), something little larger than an ear of corn. Of course, it was next to useless (no, not me!), as its call life was still numbered in minutes and recharging it took a full eight hours. However, not unlike Vodafone today, call reliability was questionable at best!
Yet, sadly, this is evading the real issue. Every man-Jack of us owns a mobile. A great number (millions of us) own Apple phones, palm-tops, laptops and so on. We did away with telexes and, later, fax machines ages ago, because our multi-purposeful personal communicators can do ALL that stuff and we even have ‘TXT’, just to remind us of how bad communications really were in the good old days of confirming orders by Telex.
However, here’s the rub, to be stated in boldest Shakespearean voice: “Why dost though not answer the bloody thing, when it is tattooed to your ear, for Chrissakes?”
While I cannot (and, to be frank, I would not like to) put my finger on it, the more silver platter-delivered tools we have access to, the less likely we are (well, some of us anyway) to respond to them. It does appear that ‘information overload’ is the condition and all else is allowed to fly out of the open window.
The most ironic, perhaps even post-ironic situation exists within PR, Media and Communications departments, within both minor and major corporations. In an activity not dissimilar to the insurance company claims executive, who is both trained and skilled in the art of avoiding any aspects of claims settlement, these nominally chatty types elect not to communicate at all. Check out their company websites…there is loads of twaddle about how brilliant this is, or how easy it is to acquire that, but try to relate with anybody that is NOT a machine and the task fails at the first hurdle. In fact, it is the first hurdle.
We shall soon have autonomous motoring on our doorsteps. The technology is still being proven but the sanction has been granted by governments left, right and centrist, to have self-driving transport on our roads by 2020. Am I alone in worrying about the viability of AI (Artificial Intelligence), when we, as humans, seem to be incapable of being in contact, verbally, with each other?
Call costs have plummeted in recent times but that has not made the art of real communication any more viable. Instead, we all wander around aimlessly and in a state of total insecurity, wondering how loathed we are by whomsoever refuses to respond to our telephone calls, messages, texts, e-mails, letters et alia.
There is an answer. Do not be afraid, earthlings! Welcome to our world. Instead of stockpiling endless screeds of electronic messages, complete with a vain promise to open them up one day soon, just try to make contact. Respond immediately, rather than at some moment in the future. Just be polite. It costs nothing and is remarkably human.