Change, it’s the only constant in life but for many in my generation, it’s happened to fast. What’s more, we feel the speed of technological change has a personal vendetta against us and our future plans.
From the New York Times to Times Magazine, we hear constantly how technology has displaced jobs, companies, and even whole business categories. Although these headlines may seem like only 21st century challenges, Europe experienced it two hundred years before our generation.
When we look back to the late 18th & early 19th century, we see Europe living in a time of transition. A transition in-which caused a war against “Man” vs “Machine”.
It is the construct of “Man” vs. “Machine” that propelled the Industrial Revolution and influenced the creation of special group named the Luddites. They were passionate defenders of the spirit of the human artisan and protectors of the intrinsic values they offered to society. However, man was no match for machiene and soon the human worker in Europe had to accept the changes that were inevitable.
It’s a fact that we cannot predict our own destiny but not too long ago we could predict closely where we would be in our lives, today we no longer have that luxury. Nonetheless, we should keep in mind we are not the first to live in a period of uncertainty.
When we put into context and compare our 21st century challenges vs the challenges of the Industrial Revolution , we discover that there are more similarities then differences. We see this with a simple reality when we visit any CVS retail store, where instead of a seeing a human being at the cash register, we are greeted by a computer that will complete our transaction.
Ultimately, despite our resistance to change, our curiosity will always influence us to evolve, nonetheless when change is unaligned with human connection, it can spark counter-intuitive change. For example, in Germany, were seeing an emerging trend take place in which an influx of blogging, tweeting and iPad swiping has led to a cultural counter movement. Trendy Berlin restaurants and night clubs have already begun implementing strict no-tech policies. Are countries in Europe again turning its back on technology?
Despite the counter trend that is taking place in Britain, it shouldn’t lead to our generation into periods of digital sabbaticals. More likely than not it will spark our generation to find reasons of reconnection with their their fellow peers as opposed to solely digital interactions. What better example to see this take place than none other than the famous digital conference of SWSW.
Why would thousands of digital natives want to go to a digital conference when they could easily stream via their laptops – or in the luxury of their own homes ? If you ask me, it seems more like a reason to re-connect and be in the presence of real people.