Idus Martii

Well, yesterday was the Ides of March. Which, of course, we all remember from Shakespeare and The Simpsons as turning into a bad day for Julius Caesar after he got to the theater. However bad as the day was for Julius, and it was a really bad one, it was also a bad day for the Roman Republic as it marked the shift to an Imperialist state in 44BC. 

I started to wonder about the analogous situation with the technological world as I read the reports from SXSW, or for those techy tortoises like me South By South West. The report by Oliver Burkeman (1) was perhaps the most apposite. The proposal is that the internet, as one of many tools that we pick up and use at will is defunct in that role. But it has now morphed into an indistinguishable or integral part of our daily existence. It's no longer something to pick up or put down on a whim. 

My thumbs are already twitching at the contemplation of the gamefication of my daily activities. What apps should I download first? Should it be so I can share my photos straight away with all my social media friends? After all, I can use crowd-sourcing advice as to which new sweater to buy and not have the burden of making that decision without focus group support. Or should it be SCVGR first and then as soon as I go into a café or store, my phone gives me some quiz questions or challenges to answer so that I can win discounts and coupons. Retail therapy will reach heights unknown, unimagined even, by the digitally challenged being lefty behind.

Going back to school is beginning to look attractive, if we can no longer fail but just take our online quizzes again and again, repeating this or that level over until we have collected enough spoils to get to the next level with its new set of challenges. A trip to hospital to take part in a multiplayer game though is a little more intimidating, although I recall that crowd sourcing diagnostics has been tried using a high school class, with good results too. The next step is obvious – leave my life-management decisions for my iPad to discuss with the phones of my cyber-friends while I tend to the whims of my avatar on Second Life. One bite of the apple was sufficient, if I understand Genesis correctly.


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