I just popped into Bournemouth University library to take out a couple of public relations texts – and realised I personally have a “problem” with the computerised check-out system. This is very helpful in scanning a barcode in both library card and books – but rather than an old-fashioned date stamp, you get a receipt, which means it is less easy to know when to return anything. Hence, I owe £5 on a book, which of course I didn’t have with me, so will need to make the 50 mile return trip again this week.
My solution in future will be to pencil the return date on the slip inside the book (ie echoing the date stamp system which although less efficient in some ways, does work as a reminder just where you need it – at the front of the book).
I am generally a fan of technology, but increasingly wonder if it isn’t making us all less engaged with the world and our brains. I refuse to have an electronic diary or satnav system as I prefer to remember where I am supposed to be in both senses of the phrase. But I do rely on my mobile phone rather than memorising numbers and ditto for a calculator where once I could easily do mental arithmetic.
Now we’re increasingly being encouraged to keep our brains active with electronic games – where once simply using our little grey cells for everyday matters did the job. Similarly, instead of good manual activity (domestic or in the work environment) to keep our bodies active – people undertake pointless (and costly) exercise in gyms.
Is this progress?