This is a response to the Daily Prompt “Life After Blogs: Your life without a computer: what does it look like?”
If computers all over the world suddenly stopped working forever, right now, how would you cope?
For me, it would be a major change to my day-to-day life. I use my PC pretty much all day every day. I use it for checking emails, Facebook, reading the news, reading books, watching TV programmes on BBC iPlayer, watching videos on YouTube, playing games, meditating, listening to music and loads of other stuff. I spent pretty much 80% of my life sat in front of a computer.
Computers gives me independence. I can send emails myself, entertain myself, and do pretty much whatever I want.
Now let’s imagine what I would do on a typical day in a post-apocalyptic post Computer world. I get up, have breakfast and then instead of going straight on a computer like I usually do, I guess I would probably watch TV or DVDs. But there would probably be power cuts as power stations are run by computers, so probably no TV. I do have a growing pile of New Scientist magazine’s to get through so that would probably keep me occupied for a while. I might even have to go outside into the real world and remind myself what sunshine feels like. Or I might go out places, but that is only if modern society hadn’t totally collapsed with the sudden disappearance of computers, which it probably would do.
But here is the thing. Because of my disability I need someone to turn on the TV, change the channels, put a DVD in a DVD player, turn the page of the magazine, someone to get my iPod if I wanted to listen to music. I need someone to help me with everything because of my disability. Using a computer I could have read books, watched films, watch TV programmes, listened to music all by myself. I could have done all this and more completely by myself. The amount of independence computers give me and other disabled people really is quite amazing when you think about it.
Now let’s think about what it would be like at University without computers. I’m going to be honest I would never have been able to complete either of my degrees without computers or the Internet. They were a godsend. I would probably have had to practically live in the library spending all of my free time actually reading a physical book. It would have taken me ages to find the tiniest bit of detail in the book because you can’t just press control F and type what you want to find. I would have had to trawl through scientific journals looking for papers, I would have had to write my entire dissertation (20,000 words) by hand, (or on a typewriter if those are still around). Actually MY CARER would have had to have typed or written out my 20,000 word dissertation, which I’m sure they would have loved.
As it was I was always up until 2 AM the night before a deadline finishing off my assignments so without the computer there would have been no chance. If I could not email assignments in then I would have had to physically deliver them by hand, which would have been a major pain in the arse.
Plus I would have been completely isolated from everyone, because like most people I keep in touch with my friends through Facebook. So no party invites, no messages from friends and family, no phoning my parents using Skype, but one positive – no game invites.
So it would be pretty much like going back to the dark ages. Just sitting in a room reading something or sit huddled by the fire fondly remembering the time when we didn’t have to do things for ourselves as computers did most of them for us.
I know there used to be a time when computers weren’t around, and people still got by. But that world wasn’t designed for computers, nowadays it is. Almost everything is run by a computer nowadays. Even a smart phone has more computing power in it then NASA had in 1969 when they landed on the moon. I was born in 1989 and this was before the Internet, and before most computers went mainstream. It was even before the first text message was sent (3rd of December 1992 in case you were wondering). The world has changed beyond recognition in the last 20 years and the pace of change is frightening. According to Moore’s law computing power doubles every two years so 10 years from now technology will probably unrecognisable from what is now.
So computers have changed our world immensely over just the last 10 or 20 years and they will be changing over the next 10 or 20. They have given us an amazing amount of power and abilities, and in the case of disabled people like myself, an immense amount of independence. So although they may be infuriating sometimes when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, I am very glad I am alive now then in mediaeval times, when the height of technology was probably a candle. I wouldn’t want to live without a computer now. I would probably get used to it in time but no idea how long that would take.