There’s a strange new campaign that’s unaccountably taking hold in quite a major way. Perhaps the Amish have finally entered the digital way in a daring bid to get the world to subscribe to their newsletter (printed in glorious technicolour, double sided and everything!). The general idea is that we should be taking one or two running leaps backwards. Rather than rolling out impossibly faster broadband to absolutely everyone we can hurtle confidently off in the opposite direction.
Wasn’t it a much simpler time way back when? Take the nineties for example, I didn’t have to deal with paying rent, making sensible adult choices or any of this grown up malarkey. And other people definitely had it just as easy in spite of not being small children for most of that decade. No one’s saying that we need to get rid of the internet as a whole. Those who devote their lives to slavishly updating Wikipedia would suddenly find themselves with absolutely nothing to do.
But we can return to the days of dial up. No matter how much anyone might protest to the contrary, we don’t actually need to be online quite as often as we manage it nowadays. Would young people waste so much time with their downloads and watching cat videos if they had to choose between those activities and making a phone call? Probably but at least they’d learn a little bit more about the consequences involved in making certain decisions.
It may well just be the case that some people out there are ever so slightly afraid of progress. They’re deeply unsettled by a future hopelessly cluttered with artificial intelligence, self-driving cars and the clearly inevitable alien invasions (they’re in all the science fiction programmes, don’t you try and deny it). So back to the past rather than the future.