Technology has become part of our vernacular, and it is often that we hear talk like “I’ll revolut you for that later”, “what’s your PPSN?” and “send me a screenshot of the details when you get a chance”. Afterall, we live in a digital world, and one that is constantly becoming more automated.
As a generation X, I view technological change as a positive; self-service check-out systems are more efficient, and tapping is far handier than carrying a wad of cash.
Albeit these conclusions, I am now realising that contactless payments aren’t the most convenient for everyone. Our society evolves to accommodate those of us who use and have access to technology, but what about those who do not?
Although it is a minority group, we have advanced so far in digitalizing our systems that it is no longer a choice to own a smartphone or make an online banking account, but a necessity. Going about daily life without computer access is an onerous chore as such.
While I acknowledge that elderly people did not grow up with technology and therefore must make more efforts to gain familiarity with it; these are not the only people being excluded. The group stretches a lot wider than that.
There are some who choose to live without technology by choice, as well as others who don’t have the resources to get access to the internet.
Once, you could call up the local plumber from the phone book and walk into an NDLS centre to book your driving test. Now, phone books are no longer used. Moreover, to book a driving test, you need to make an NDLS account, register all twelve of your completed lessons, and thus gain digital approval from your instructor.
There are fewer and fewer alternative methods for those who do not have access to the digital world. Booking holidays, registering new employment on Revenue, making appointments at the hairdresser; all of these systems are now online.
Covid too contributed majorly to our robotic way of life. Amid numerous lockdowns, our schooling took place via Blackboard, Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Going out with friends became lengthy facetimes, and Joe Wick’s workouts were the new gym classes.
The shift from face-to-face to virtual was so impactful that our society has not since recovered from it. According to an Independent article, as of January 2022, 90% of 35–44 year olds said that they would prefer to continue to work remotely following the ease of restrictions.
In addition, many businesses, Twitter for example, have permanently deployed a work-from-home policy, as stated by a Hays article.
It goes without saying that the option to work remotely brought about great benefit to many; less commuting, more flexible working hours and increased comfort inclusive.
However, all of these changes only cater for the tech-users of the world, and without proficiency in computers, few job opportunities remain. Certain people now lack the confidence to apply for new jobs, or switch career paths. The prospect of entering an all-computer workplace is daunting and discouraging for the non-tech users amongst us.
This reflection begs the question: Is our society slowly marginalizing those who refuse to jump on this exclusive digital train? Are we lending certain members of our country to embarrassment and shame at not being tech-savvy?
I believe that it is now a necessary requirement to have access to a computer of sorts, and I question whether or not this is fair. Perhaps one should have the right to refuse this digital world and carry on life as it was.
Nevertheless, it will not be long until the cashier solely accepts card, and all forms of identification are held in one online profile. Maybe we are heading in the right direction, and we should encourage everybody to adapt to this new technological change.
One thing is for sure, if you’re not on board on time, the train will not wait for you.