As we enter the new millenium it difficult to avoid thinking about how the world is changing. In the 1980’s few people had even seen a computer, let alone owned one. Now they are on most children’ christmas wish lists. In the 1990’s satellite television was a new and wondrous thing – no less than sixteen channels through one ariel! Compare that figure with the hundreds available today. Digital broadcasting has changed our lives to such an extent that the question is no longer ‘TV or not TV’ (to misquote Shakespear), but ‘Could we manage without it?’ Can you imagine life a hundred years ago, when there was neither television or radio. For us, it doesn’t bare thinking about, but perhaps our
great-grandparents were equally as content to sit around a piano as we are to stare at a screen. There would have been no disagreement about what channel to watch, at least.
Which would you chose as the best of the two period’s in which to live? In 1900 there was less leisure time, accommodation was terribly cramped and there were two word wars to come (not to mention the Spanish flu epidemic which was responsible for more deaths that the Second Worl War); a holiday was a luxury and there was no modern conveniences. I am not infering that all is now perfect. Today we have global warming, gridlocked traffic, GM foods, BSE, AIDS and many other unwelcome contractions, abbreviations and annagrams – problems all partly or wholy attributable to technological advances. On balance, though, I think I would prefer to take my chances in todays silicone-enhanced world of bits and bites than in the troubled times of our forbears.