Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Trying to keep up

Hello, not long now and 2014 will be gone. It's been a good one and I am chuffed. Not doing a look back over the last twelve months, can't be bothered, I'm living for today, and looking forward.

I was wondering just how much of our lives will be taken over by computers in the future. After handing £180 over the post office counter, I'm a bit peeved that they didn't give me a tax disc to put in my car. I took the MOT certificate with me but Hilary the PO lady didn't even look at it, says it's all computerised now. There was no mention of an insurance certificate on the renewal form either, she said she didn't need to see it, good job I didn't take it then.

Having everything about drivers and vehicles on a computer is supposed to be a step forwards, but I think it will create lot's more problems. What about all the vehicles that come into the country from abroad, will all their details be on a computer as well? Will the authorities like the police be able to trace every one to make sure they have paid their tax and insurance, and the vehicle is roadworthy, or the drivers have passed their test? They already let lots of people enter the country illegally without the proper checks, how are they going to police millions of cars with no road tax discs in the windscreen? I can see the computers going into meltdown.

I think it's really strange to see empty windscreens without a disc, I'm thinking of making my own. It could be multicoloured, maybe a flower design, I'll have a think about it. Could make a fabric disc, or even a knitted one. There needs to be something in the space.

I was in the bank the other day, and the man in the queue behind me was getting a bit agitated because we weren't moving very quickly. As we were getting near to the front, I said I wouldn't be long at the counter. He had his phone in his hand and said he had made a ticket purchase on the internet, and the money had to be paid into a bank within half an hour, to get the special deal price. He showed the bank lady the details on the screen and she processed it. I've never heard of that system before. Amazing. Is that how shopping is going to be in the future.

I wonder sometimes if we are all going to lose the power of speech. You see lots of people walking around looking at their hand held device, tapping away at it. Never looking up, ear phones in, totally lost in their own little world, oblivious as to what's going on around them.

When you go into a doctors surgery you don't report to the receptionist, you tap a few details into a touch screen computer. When you go to a supermarket there is no need to have any human interaction at all. You can go to the self scan checkouts. If you want to you can take a scanner around with you and check in each item as you take it from the shelves, then just hand over the dosh at the end.

You can pay for your petrol with a card at the pumps, no need to speak to anyone. You can play scrabble or chess with someone at the other side of the world. You can scan your books in and out at the library.

I don't think I can cope with much more automation. I wish it was all going backwards. Wish there was more smiley people to talk to. Wish people would go back to speaking on the phone rather than texting. I hate texting, it's alright for a quick question and a quick answer, but useless for long conversations.

Spose I must try and keep up with the changing trends, but it's sad that the art of conversation is dying. Ah, well, must get on. It's clocking off time and I want a mug of hot choccy, and the last mince pie. Toodle pip.

30 comments:

  1. Our local post office has a sign up, if you are speaking on a mobile phone at the counter, they refuse to serve you.
    I agree, it is just rude being on the phone when in the company of other people
    Jo

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    1. What a wonderful idea! Jan F

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  2. Enjoy your mince pie! I live in central NJ, USA and hardly any of these computerized transactions are here at all, very funny to read about them, as if you were in a future zone. In this state we can not pump our own gas (gas station owners' lobby, probably) so there's an attendant to take the cash, pump the gas, wash your windshield, etc. At the supermarket the self checkouts are so unpopular that they keep a lot of human beings working at the checkout, which I like. Libraries are the same, actual people, some of them becoming great friends, no access to self checking in or out. I do a lot of high tech stuff (not with my phone, it's a low level cellphone, makes calls and texts and that's THAT! within my budget, too, no contract.

    But I see why it would get a bit unnerving if a lot of these nice daily interactions went away.

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  3. We don't have tax discs here. We have a little sticker that goes on the back number plate.It is always the month of the primary insurer's birthday.
    Jane x

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  4. It's frightening isn't it? I dread to think how much further technology will advance. I'm a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to modern technology, but I do have an old mobile 'phone of my husbands which I use for emergency calls and sending texts to him and our daughter for the odd message and I refuse to get a more up-to-date one that takes pictures etc. Maybe I'm missing out on the convenience, but I don't care. I'm happy as I am. Of course I use the computer to go on blogs, but my knowledge and know-how is basic.

    Joan (Wales)

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  5. Absolutely agree with everything you say Ilona. We despair at the way things are being eroded. We remember when cars had log books handed to each new owner (showing my age!), now they have taken away tax discs. Loved the idea of you making your own!
    Wendy (Wales)

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  6. Some might say its progress, being able to pay bills and order stuff online is useful for people who work odd hours or can't always get to do things in office hours.
    Companies communicate by e-mail for employees booking time off and wage queries etc.
    Automation is making people lazy/complacent as they rely more and more on machines.
    A recent report said that some jobs could be replaced by machines in the near future, driverless cars are being trialed which could become taxis and theres talk of driverless trucks, up to 9 vehicles following a lead driver.
    I think we're heading for a world similar to the sci-fi films.
    Dave.

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  7. Some of what you describe is unfamiliar, but the technology advances are the same. My doctor now has a personal available for me to check on my health history. Kinda freaky,

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  8. Less contact with people does not bother me as much as the fact that eliminating people from these positions is what is causing hunger and homelessness. Someone used to do all those things that are now done with technology. The idiot politicians are out there trying to get people to keep shopping, but big business is replacing everyone with machines so there is less money to spend because people can't find work. Don't get me wrong; I think consumerism is killing the world and all the people in it and built-in obsolescence should be illegal. But I'm not homeless or hungry and have a nice nest egg built up over many years and a well paying job that I like and does not rely, directly, on what people buy. I wish it was the same for everyone else.

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    1. You are so right about the idiot politicians...and big business...they are hand in glove.

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  9. I am SO glad I didn't grow up in the age of computers and technology. We played outside. I rode either my bike or pony everywhere. We sat and TALKED to people. There were real card catalogs in the library! All you said is right on. It also irritates me that even though kids NEVER are away from their phones, they rarely pick up when parents call..or call back..

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  10. If only they were ALL "smiley people"! I've recently had a terrible experience with a cashier (a manager, no less!), and my doctor's new office has a front-desk person who is downright rude - I thought maybe I had caught her on a bad day, but since then, several people have commented on it. And the new postmistress in my little town has complained about something every time I've been in to mail a package, so now I'm beginning to go to the PO in the next town over when I do my errands...a busier PO, but at least no one is griping every time I go in.
    More smiley people, please! :)

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  11. I think computers can be very helpful when they complement the human interaction. I bought a new (to me) car recently and had to register it for taxes and the number plates. This used to take at least half a day. Going to the appropriate office (I don´t know how it is called in Britain, I´m german), wait, get a number, go to the place where the number plates are made, wait, get the plates and pay them, return, wait, pay, wail, get the sticker, put them on the plates in front of the emloyee, finished. Now I got the number on the internet, I even could check whether the number I wanted was still free I paid online, I had the plates made and took them to the office, waited once for the stickers and that was it. I still had a chat with the lady who made the plates.
    We don´t have many self checkouts here, the only place I know is IKEA, and I know I will refuse to use them when they come to my local supermarkets. As for petrol, we have to serve ourselfes and pay at the counter. What I like is the possibility to print out your train tickets at home, because you never know how long you will have to wait at the station and I even have even missed my train a few times because it took me so long to get a ticket.
    So I think the modern technology should be a tool, but nothing more.

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  12. You are so right about computers and interactions with people, someone put it very well into poetry, have a look at this, hope you enjoy it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7dLU6fk9QY

    Caterina x

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  13. I'm going to re employ my tax disc holder as a holder for emergency contact numbers. Useful in an emergency situation but mostly for when I leave my phone at home xx

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    1. I think that's a very clever idea Julee

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  14. Like you, I feel automation is going too far...give me areal person every time! Happy New Year, Ilona!

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  15. If you go on a search engine and put You Gov Check Tax and MOT in, then a vehicle registration and make, it will show you now if a vehicle's got tax and an mot. Think you can also check the mot history of a vehicle which is handy if anyone's buying one. Agree with you though---I like tax discs and seems wrong not to have one, even though I know I'm covered! Louise x

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  16. My local library moved earlier in the year to a "community hub" where you can have an appointment to talk to a council employee etc and get a library book. The books and waiting area is in the same room and it is very noisey when officials call out your name for your appointment. You don't go and get your book stamped either at the desk now - you scan it. No end of times does the scanner not recognise the bar codes etc. I notice though, that there is still the same amount of library workers. I can't think they'll last very long. I don't have a car but I agree it does seem strange not to see the tax discs displayed. Natalie

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  17. Absolutely spot on. I feel really sad when I travel on public transport and see people totally enveloped in their own little worlds. All the best for 2015. Kristel.

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  18. As long as you keep blogging all will be well with the world!
    happy New Year!

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  19. Highly amused at your consternation about the tax discs - in a country where the police can't even find a person because you have no registration system (like we do in Switzerland or Germany or France or…); what's more, there is always such outrage at the suggestion! And yet we feel that a lot of money and trouble is spent looking for people in the UK, be it because they are missing, or criminal or evading tax etc. etc. As for vehicles coming in from the big bad "abroad", I think the likelihood is that they are better recorded (and serviced/maintained) than most vehicles I've seen in the UK…!! I do not get the threat of the "foreigner" that is being spread, it's getting to be rather ridiculous. As a person who carries several passports (legally!), these kinds of comments bemuse me :) It's always fun explaining to people how things actually "work" where I live when they come to visit - because unlike so many things over there, they do "work" here LOL. There are good and bad aspects to whatever country you live in. One of the worse ones over there is the media - there is scaremongering about so many things that we just find unbelievable in a country where we seem to have more encouragement to think for ourselves. You are definitely better off without TV, anyway, in your house! Drives me nuts when I am over there.
    The trend towards automising everything leaves me as sceptical as it does you - unfortunately it's so often mindless. I like my electronics as well as the next person, but I do try and ensure that they are my tools and not controlling me - surprising how many people allow themselves to be dominated by their gadgets or the "possibilities" of having them. Plenty of things I prefer to do the old-fashioned way and keep control…
    Thanks for having a lively blog with a lot of interesting ideas and discussion, and happy new year from across the Channel :)

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  20. Glad you like Ilona's blog, at least that is a positive. Think I can understand why you chose your blogger name and keep your profile private.

    Have an amazing 2015 Ilona and continue to brighten our lives with your great postings. All best wishes.

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    1. That's interesting - ANONYMOUS! Why should I not compare the three countries I come from and have extensive experience of?! :O
      I'm happy to tell you that otherwise I go under Swissrose and blog at www.thelittlewashhouse.wordpress.com, in case you are worried about me being so big-headed. Will you come and troll me, now? Perhaps not, it's really not worth it. (this alternative name is what my mom calls me because she always asks me so many things if she needs to know something, but of course, I forgot, you didn't know that, ANONYMOUS)
      Sheesh.

      Happy new year, Ilona - as I also said, I enjoy your blog and wasn't criticising you, just saying how interesting the comparisons are! I don't imagine an outspoken person like you minds too much if I say what I think, too, and I wasn't being rude or nasty. But of course, it's your blog and I will refrain if you're not interested. End of.

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  21. Hi Ilona

    Once again you have written a very thought-provoking post. I like to think that I am forward thinking and ready to embrace new technology and the changes that accompany it. I love the Internet but remind myself that it is a tool and NOT a way of life. We live in a society where automisation is the norm and there are very few opportunities to 'opt out'. I made a conscious decision not to have a mobile phone and I do not have a clue how to send a text message (furthermore, I have absolutely no intention of learning how to do so). I much prefer to speak to my partner and friends face to face and I enjoy walking home from work appreciating lovely trees and wild birds whilst remaining resolutely 'unplugged'. Interestingly, some of my colleagues at work have reacted with utter incomprehension when learning that I do not possess a mobile phone. What a sad society we have become.

    Julia

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  22. Technology is a blessing and a curse in equal measures. The younger generation have never known anything else, but we remember a time when things were done manually and interaction was a daily necessity. My elderly parents can keep in touch with relatives in Australia almost as though they are in the room with them - little cost, quick and easy (no more delay on the phone line). Satnav has meant I can travel around with confidence (it usually works though isn't perfect), and internet banking means I don't have to join lengthy queues to pay my bills. I hate self service too - I cannot believe that they are still going! Over the Christmas hols I have certainly taken time out with technology, didn't even check my emails. I spent time with my family and we talked and laughed for 2 days straight. Have a lovely evening! Debbie

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  23. I have a real love hate relationship with technology. I love the fact that I have the world wide web at my fingertips and can connect with like minded people. I don't like the fact that the world of finance seems to have become impersonal and lacking good manners! x

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  24. Right on! Go back, oh not so far as to live without anitbiotics or radio or trains or telephones but far enough back so that innocence and trust and simplicity and frugal ways such as living within one's means - maybe back to the 1950's - after the war and before the wild 60's. I agree with you, you're spot on about the people who are in their own world with their cell phones, texting, ear plugs in with music blasting, while life swirls around them and they just don't notice. What are they going to be like when they are in their 70's or 80's? They won't even know what's happening unless its being discussed on one of those reality tv shows.

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  25. I like self check-outs; you can go at your own pace and be absolutely sure you are not over-charged. Mistakes in check-outs are very common and it is never in our favor it seems.
    I think tech overall is a great thing; it will lead to all sorts of discoveries that will benefit us.
    It is hard as you get old to embrace new things and it is natural to dwell on the "good old days" which were nt that good anyway.

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