January 11 technology

Computers in schools are rubbish. They were mass shifted in by naive, chip on the shoulder, middle aged politicians in the 1990s who didn’t understand them and thought they would solve the problem of education. Now pupils do not think, they google; they do not write; they cut and paste; they do not construct essays; they assemble them; they do not think about a mot juste; they pick it from the computer. When I hear the injunction for a child to do some research on line, my heart sinks.

And then we have too much information. It depresses us, slows us down, wastes our time, makes us less creative, punctures every conversation with someone wanting to check something on his smartphone. In the same way as jokes are for people with no sense of humour and Valentine’s Day is for those with no sense of romance, information is for people unable to do conversation.

The silhouette of youngster or oldster bent over a smart phone has become iconic. Like the Madonna and Child or Massacio’s version of th expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, those shapes you would recognise through a glass darkly; you recognise also the fall of the shoulder of an archetypal browser caught in the flagrante delicto of information retrieval, the emblematic sorry act of the age.


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