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I regularly grump about things being ‘better’ in my youth and to some extend they were. The quiet, organized and simple life without too much traffic, no (cell)phones, black and white TV set with only two (!) channels and no Internet is something I look back at with some happiness. No one owned a home computer or tablet because they were not invented yet and thus no distracting social media.

Only the newspapers and the news on TV provided, well, news. And it travelled slow if it weren’t big events. Now, if some semi-celebrity lets go off a [email protected] the whole world must know. And does.

But modern technology certainly has earned its place in our society, to me mainly because of the way it can make one’s life easier. Take the smartphone for instance. I’m not one tapping on it the whole day long because I don’t do social media. But for it to find a parking spot and pay for it, to check the upcoming weather, to scan groceries and pay for them in the supermarket, to find an address and directions, to read the latest news and last but not least talk to someone (and see them at the same time) it is unbeatable because it fits in a pocket. Stuff out of sci-fi movies of 50 years ago. And now, reality.

Cars have improved immensely in that same period of time. To be honest, I still don’t know what some knobs and switches do in my own car. And it does a lot (too much?) by itself. Turn on the lights, wipers, apply the brakes when standing still on a negative slope, all automatically and more. If you want to, you can switch it all off. My car is just over three years old but if I see what the 2019 model comes with as standard I’m even more amazed. Until we have reached the point when the car drives itself and that becomes the norm.

Inside the home there’s even more. I installed a Dutch made home automation platform many years ago and it brings boundless possibilities. The lights switch on automatically guided by sun down and switch off again at a certain time, different during weekdays. If the temperature in our bedroom rises above a preset level, the ceiling fan switches itself on. And off again at 03.30. It records the temperature and humidity levels in three rooms and sends alerts to our iPhones when our front door or other doors and windows are opened. An IP camera keeps a lookout 24/7. And it is connected wirelessly to the ‘intelligent’ power meter we have. And so on and so forth and because of geofencing some actions are not performed while we are not at home. E.g., the ceiling fan will not turn on then.

And then there’s the PVR. Before the introduction of the VCR, people stayed at home to watch television because many of the shows were live to air. Not recorded and thus no reruns. But now you will never have to stay home again or miss a program. Postponed viewing. With an app you can control everything, wherever you are. With one tap you can record an entire season. And with the latest update I can record say, a movie from the beginning even if I started that recording half way. Someday all, including our nest thermostat, will be controlled by that home automation platform.

But all of this quietly passed by my parents, my mom 80 and my dad 88. They never owned a VCR. They have never flown and the ‘senior’ cellphone my brother and myself bought for them is never used. Battery dead or the thing is switched off. I have given up asking, no pleading with them to take it with them when they go out which seldom happens anymore. If you see the small apartment in their semi-nursing home you are whisked back to 1970. I envy them sometimes. They don’t need all that stuff.
 

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Yowza, terrific post Frans ! :smileyface_hand_cla You covered it all !!!

You really have to be happy for your parents, and a lot of our parents, and
grandparents that haven't been drawn into the technological tides. They honestly
do, or did seem to be able to enjoy life, and not be constantly connected, or even
distracted by multiple things. Things that can make time fly, but often be a waste
of time at the end of the day really.

All of it is great actually for people if they are in control, and not being
controlled I think. When everyone uses all of the amazing new technology
to enjoy life, that's fantastic. But when it's in control of people, and they
become technology zombies, and that is their life, it's crazy. Honestly, some
times you really wonder about the old rise of the machines stories, and
predictions. Maybe people are slowly becoming the machines though ! :eek2:

In any case, your parents, and a lot of us are lucky, and are still human. :thumb::thumb:
 

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Of course some manufacturers take matters too far, I have posted on this before. Who needs a hot water kettle on WiFi? They exist you know. My parents' generation is just one step behind but to a great extend they don't miss any of that technological mumbo jumbo. My father in law (80 now) however knows how to face time with Anne so it's not age that dictates but interest.
 

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Automation is fine as long as I am in charge. As soon as I find that I have to fight for control, well, then there is a fight. That is why I prefer Boeing to Airbus. Airbus philosophy is to automate the pilot out as much as possible. This has caused accidents even if it has supposedly prevented them.


For one example, an airbus on approach had the pilot accidentally trip the "Go Around" switch on the thrust levers. Both were unaware of this. This would automatically trim the stabilizer for a climb. (On the airplanes I flew we were in full control of the trims)
Consequently they found, despite all the pushing they tried, the plane pitched up for climb. Of course, if they had really intended doing a Go-around, the engines would have gone to high thrust and their speed would not have dropped. As it was, they were trying to land, so thrust was at a minimum because they had taken control of that manually.

With the nose up in the air, and no thrust, the Airbus crashed with no survivors.

Programmers think they can automate for infinite scenarios but, the Qantas A380 out of Singapore had its automation destroyed by an exploding engine, and if it hadn't been for having an excellent crew and an extra crew on board to take over, it would have been a disaster.
 

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There are many layers to this topic, calypso's post above really depicts how tragic an outcome the push toward automation can be. "Self-driving" autos are crashing into pedestrians and other vehicles all too often. New, tech-based and otherwise unnecessary collisions are on the rise.

Automation of our vehicles and aircraft aside, I usually embrace technology, albeit with an initially skeptical eye. The countless technological innovations even in my slice of time on Earth far outweigh the poor and even disastrous ones.

My parents are in their mid '70s, have smartphones and generally keep up with the basic tech of today. They cannot connect their own home entertainment systems, they need me to set up any and all new computer equipment and they couldn't care less about social media. I couldn't care less about the latter either.
 

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Automation is fine as long as I am in charge. As soon as I find that I have to fight for control, well, then there is a fight. That is why I prefer Boeing to Airbus. Airbus philosophy is to automate the pilot out as much as possible. This has caused accidents even if it has supposedly prevented them.
Point taken. However, from the perspective of a frequent traveller, I do prefer Airbus as I find them generally more comfortable than Boeing. As for the A380, simply marvelous.

An old school friend flew for SAA and had in excess of 30 000 flying hours prior to his recent retirement - a die hard Boeing man for many of the reasons you referred to.
 

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/snip - they couldn't care less about social media. I couldn't care less about the latter either.

Me neither and I won't go as far that I hate because that's too strong a word but I'm close. When I drive around town I see so many drivers tapping on their devices whilst 'driving' I wonder where the police are when you need them. The fine is 290 Euro but seemingly the culprits don't care or take their chances. Man, what could be that important that you can't even stop with anti-social media in your car? A new solution to Fermat's last theorem? I can imagine that you want to sling that into the world but for all the rest? Nah.
 
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