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Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Tech In Moderation - Smog City

Much of my novel Smog City is about how 21st century digital technology is beginning to ruin the world. Not causing an apocalypse or anything that extreme, but making people forget things that used to be in its place, EG celluloid film, vinyl records, CRT televisions, etc. 
But don't get me wrong, technology isn't this horrible, destructive thing. The point in Smog City is that technology in moderation is a good thing, but we shouldn't be so quick to forget what we already have, especially since many people agree that older technology is actually superior in many ways.
Cell phones, although not nearly as mainstream as they are today, have been in the world since 1973. Kodak invented the digital camera in the Seventies. Computers have been around since before World War Two. But the 20th century didn't rely so much on these things the way the 21st century does.
Anyway, I have some technology that is digital and modern. I have one laptop (an Asus Windows 7 netbook to be exact). And I have two amateur digital cameras. I don't have a cellular phone. That's all the digital technology I need or want, and my laptop is one of the cheapest (and slowest) out there, but without it I wouldn't have been able to publish my novel. I typed my novel on Microsoft Word and drew the cover on Microsoft Paint. I used online services to publish it, I run my blog on Google and I have a Goodreads page. 
But I watch movies on my old Akai CRT television and I'm saving up for my new super 8 camera. I have a lot of disposable 35mm film cameras and Kodak photo albums. I have a lot of vinyl records and my VHS tape player. I don't really want to abandon the media I have, which, although older is better in many ways. 
That's just my preference. Some people would argue that an HD flatscreen hooked up with Netflix and a million gaming consoles and digital webcam is better. But that's not me, I don't play video games, I don't use Twitter or Skype and my CRT television has great picture quality for the movies I watch. I've watched HD movies with blu-ray on a flatscreen TV and the only difference is that the HD quality seemed much too fake for me, there was no aesthetic quality and I guess I'm just happy with what I already have.
The trouble is, my television is slowly breaking down, film labs are disappearing everywhere and it's only a matter of time before these things are erased and nothing but memories are left behind, and eventually not even that. 
In Smog City, the point is there has to be some sort of balance between things. We shouldn't condemn digital technology, it's very useful. But we also shouldn't make vinyl, film or CRT's obsolete when these things are still very useful to a lot of people.

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