Tuesday 28 June 2016

Hello {goodbye} world

It's 4am French time. I'm sat on a picnic table in a forest in Normandy. I couldn't sleep. Grammar isn't guaranteed. Ranting probably is, to be fair. 

The fundamental problem with a brexit, is this. 

We can't leave the Internet. 

A generation that didn't grow up with it voted to leave something you can't leave. I said a long long old time ago that the horse has bolted and you can't stuff it back unless it's dead. Brexit feels a little like trying to stuff that horse not only back into the stable, but asp trying to reanimate it. 

Zombie horses. Yup, there's an analogy. It's 4am. Well it is here. And so I'm allowed. And while we're talking about here, let's examine that. I'm sat writing this in a field in a forest, between two lakes on the edge of the Perche Forest in the Department of Sarthe in France. I take my ability to do so for granted, the same way I took my EHIC card for granted, our whizz through passport control for granted, the way I used an English bank card to pay the tolls at the beautifully designed toll machines for granted. 

I take a lot for granted, it seems. Stupid me. Like no one wanting zombie horses. Anyway. I'm on the Internet in a field in a forest. My keyboard can type é just as fast as it can type e. Perhaps that's a better example than zombie horses. But fundamentally the point is, I am connected. I can't disconnect. I don't want to. And to be honest, none of us under 55's want to. We're so used to knowing what we want when we want, we take it for granted. We are so used to fact checking and citation needed cries that we don't even think about it any more. We ask our friends on social media, we ask Parliament websites, we use open data, we do many many things to fact check. A lot of us don't even read newspapers any more - instead preferring to fact check ourselves, to try and find the truth of something without the unnecessary yet prevailing biases and agendas swarming all over our current media. 

We assumed the over 55's were doing the same. They weren't. They were busy in a disconnected world, where you don't end up working in the same place as a team of crack Polish devs. Or where the latest bright young brain in your industry has honoured your workplace with their presence despite being based by preference in Amsterdam. Where flying for a weekend break to Basel is no more deserving of comment than popping to the local beach for the day. 

They were busy voting to remain in a world which no long exists except in their imagination, coloured, blurred and distorted by rose tints, hindsight and the distance of decades. 

We took our connected world for granted. We took our access to knowledge at our fingertips, pretty much for free, for granted. And we paid a high price. But perhaps in some way, where technology or rather the lack of understanding of it (we will always be connected to the world now, in a far more fundamental and permanent way than we ever thought) has led us to this place, it can now lead us out? Perhaps we can now think about media and it's place in snap of national consciousness. Maybe we can think about how we spread citation needed. Maybe we can have a think about our responsibility as comfortable technologists with the world literally at our fingertips and how we use that privilege to educate and comfort. 

Just saying. 

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