It's an unstructured reverie that began around the question "What does technology do for us?" with a vague intention of being predictably critical about today's technology. I'm old enough to be comfortable with my own predictability.
I started with this observation.
I wear spectacles, which makes me a "cyborg" by at least one definition. They make the horizon easier to see. But the horizon doesn't change.
And where I thought I was going - perhaps this is obvious - was into a self-conscious little play-around with that idea of the horizon getting clearer but not changing. But I couldn't make it work.
I suppose talking about "technology" is a bit like talking about "transport". My blue Honda Jazz (pre-owned, pre-loved, but we don't talk about past relationships) takes me around, gets me to wherever I need to go, and is an all-round good thing.
At times, my jump leads are better things, and every now and then, the bright red Portable Power Pack Jump Starter that I carry in the boot is the best thing of all.
I like my little blue car. If only I could remember to switch off the headlights.
But under the heading of "transport", there are also tanks, jet fighters, bombers, crop sprayers, roads scarring the landscape, bicycles swerving out into the traffic, drivers not leaving enough space as they pass bicycles, advertising for car insurance ... ambulances, fire engines, stretch limousines ... what has transport done for us? It's complicated.
Under "technology" ...
I use Google Calendar, and if it's an international call coming up, which it sometimes is, I don't have to worry about time-zone calculations any more.
If we use Google Meet, we can see each other, and that's a little like time travel (no, I've never time-travelled). That's what tonight looks like, I might think. Or perhaps: there's somebody who hasn't yet experienced this morning.
And yes, I think there is a responsibility at both ends to set up an interesting background.
Making a phonecall is just making a phonecall, but video-calling done properly (I don't think it counts as "conferencing" if there are only two of you) offers a slice of another life.
I remember fax machines as a minor miracle - here's a duplicate of a document that still exists somewhere else. And way back further, hearing the voice in my tin can, conveyed by the taut string to the other tin can.
When we got our first toy telephones, we went to great lengths to make sure that we couldn't hear each other except via the telephones. The wires were never long enough, but we did at least achieve real-time bedroom-to-bedroom communication.
The technology I miss most is my Psion Organiser Series 3, which fitted into my inside jacket pocket along with my wallet. A little clamshell thing, screen and keyboard, which I could hold in my hands while typing with my thumbs. I got quite good at that, wrote 10,000 words of an 80,000-word book while standing up on commuter trains.
We're all living much longer and there are more of us, in part thanks to technology. We have the internet and social media, which give us at least the opportunity to debate and discuss and thereby gain wisdom.
Technology goes past too quickly. But it's given us so many visions. A better Psion Organiser. A more stable video-conferencing tool. Fibre-optic cable rather than can-connecting string. An internet of wisdom - which come to think of it was Al Gore's (and others') vision of the Information Superhighway, remember that?
What's the dream, now?
Robots, I suppose. We've had fake news; now we're working on fake people.
But the other thing about technology is that it's all about means. Enabling people to do things, or saving them the trouble of doing them. Working for us rather than alongside us. Not innovating, or inventing, or taking on and doing stuff.
I wonder how different the world would be, if we could just set up a technology around an objective, give it autonomy, and leave it alone to get on with it. Fly me to the moon, algorithm, and let me play among the stars. Or why don't you go yourself? Set up our habitations on Mars, before we even work out how to arrive.
No, wait a second.
Technology's inspired a lot of apocalyptic fiction, hasn't it?
Not much of it optimistic.
Like I said, ignore this post.