Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Faster is better

or is it? I am wondering about the supposed benefits of the "National Broadband Network". The NBN is supposed to deliver "faster" downloads for the computer network...for 93% of the country.
We are being told that it will have benefits for medicine and education. Mmm...maybe. I can see some potential benefits there - but not enough to justify giving everyone access.
Business? Well they will like it of course - but what will it do to employment levels? My father bought something last week from a company that has its headquarters in another state. The whole business is computerised. Three people are employed here to do the actual physical handling etc. There used to be seven people. Four people are now out of work because of computerisation. Faster computer networks will see more people out of work. Inevitable? Progress?
Then there is the issue of being able to "download movies to watch". Is that really progress?
As a family we do not, apart from my youngest sister, watch much television. We never have. We all prefer to read and do other things. It is unlikely that we will watch movies via our computer screens.
And there is something else as well. Television changed social habits. The NBN will change them still further. With television there was some chance you were at least watching the screen with another member of the household in which you lived. Personal computers mean that you could easily end up watching alone. Is that mentally healthy? I doubt it.
We already have more people "working from home". Is that good? I doubt it.
I do work from home and I make the conscious effort to get out and talk to people. My father and I engage in quite intellectual debate over the meal table. But, I do not get the opportunity to participate in the social interaction of the work situation. Working as a team member over the internet is not the same thing at all.
There is quite enough social isolation and mental illness caused by such things now. I cannot help wondering whether the benefits of the NBN are really going to outweigh the potential problems?

3 comments:

virtualquilter said...

I don't even want to think about the amount of money being spent on something which will be completely outdated by the time it is half finished!

Judy B

catdownunder said...

I think my BIL would tell you that it is already outdated!

Rachel Fenton said...

I watch movies on my pc - alone and with my family - you are right though - I couldn't get mentally ill any faster.

Merry Christmas, Cat!