"The next station is..

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Jun 04, 2006

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Flag of United Kingdom  ,
Tuesday, May 9, 2006

...Pluckley," and so drawls on the electronic voice on the train. Why can't they make it a bit more interesting or add an original twist to it. " The next station is Pluckley, the most haunted village in England. After nightfall there are seven ghosts sitting on the platform: Happy, Sleepy, Grumpy...etc." Or how about, "the next station is a surprise. Stay awake and see where we end up." But this is the sanitised efficiency and convenience of the information age, and there's something rather soulless about it all.

The information age is wonderful in so many ways. The ease with which we can learn about new subjects, organise our lives at short notice, make complex decisions based on assimilated information which is only lately available, or simply to be recognised from a piece of plastic. It's progress, speed, time, efficiency.... Despite all this, I can't help finding myself wondering whether people think less now, and certainly not laterally in the way the mind can wander when it's not focussed on a task or piece of information. If we always have information, do we become more like automatons? Are the way we think, look, speak, live all being shaped by some great unseen electro-organic system that we don't perceive or understand?

It's not a cheerful thought, but it's one that doesn't seem to harsh surrounded by blank faced railway commuters heading in and out of London every day. For some of them, the first person that speaks to them in the morning is probably the electronic voice, "The next station is..." Depressing!
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