Watching Edinburgh adapting to the alien lifestyle of the coronavirus lock down has been astounding - Liam Rudden

THE pros and cons of the ever encroaching digital world have long been explored by writers and makers of all things ‘science-fiction’.

By Liam Rudden
Friday, 17th April 2020, 5:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 10:05 am
Sam Masters, Edinburgh Monarchs No 1 rider

From the virtual reality of the hollow-deck, introduced during the ongoing missions of the star-ship Enterprise, to the drop of a hat use of video calls, society is fast catching up with the future imagined all those years ago - even if flying cars aren’t quite yet a thing.

As a 19-year-old, I remember a brainy friend - so clever he was already working on some high profile although probably top secret projects for Ferranti - who made the following prediction. He declared that by the time we all reached 40 or thereabouts, we’d need to own very little. Video cassettes and even the new in demand medium of the day, CDs, would become obsolete, he stated confidently.

Everything, he insisted would be stored digitally. We’d have a computer-type screen on which we would watch TV and films, listen to music and even read books. Entertainment would be streamed on demand, phone calls made on camera link ups, oh, and cash would be a thing of the past.

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Of course, today they’re all familiar concepts, from Skype to Facetime, and the use of mobiles to pay bills, all are second nature for many now, but back in the early-80s they were still just fanciful pipe-dreams. Until the lock down, I’d managed to avoid much of this ‘modern living’, choosing to still use cash and read physical books, not eBooks. I doubt I’m alone.

Mobile and office computer aside, the virtual revolution mostly passed me by, with the obvious exception of social media in the shape of Facebook, Twitter and, to a lesser extent, Instagram - well, that’s for the kids, isn’t it? Or is that TikTok? Or some other new platform I’ve yet to discover. The virtual world changes rapidly I’ve discovered, as is my understanding of the ease at which everything can now be achieved from the safety and comfort of your own home.

Since lock down started, I’ve taken part in my first digital hangout, made my first Facetime calls and I've thoroughly enjoyed joining the Zoom revolution on Sunday when my speedway co-presenter John McGillivray and I hooked up live with Edinburgh ‘What The Fork’ Monarchs’ No 1, Sam Masters (pictured). Sunday Lunch with Sam Masters was streamed live worldwide on the club’s Facebook page and website and found John and I chatting with Sam, who is currently at home in Australia.

This virtual world certainly shrinks the globe and, as I write this, on what is my day 28 of lock down, it astounds me how fast society has adapted to this new and completely alien way of living. It’s quite worrying really. The longer it continues, the more likely I am to never want to leave the house again. How easily we are institutionalised.

Right, onto my next challenge, to find a podcast app I can figure how to work.

Stay safe all.

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