steepholm (steepholm) wrote,

Yesterday's People

“They’ve been working on this new way of texting, see. You know what a pain it is, having to type all those letters into your mobile one by one – even with predictive text. Well, this new system uses voice recognition software. You speak into it, it converts your voice into text and sends it to the other mobile, where another program converts the text back into sound. Brilliant!”

Apparently, it takes some people quite a while to remember just how long ago the telephone was invented.

I was reminded of this when watching The Tomorrow People (thanks, gair!) the other evening with my daughter. Stephen, the newest TP, was wandering around a suspicious fairground attraction – in fact the resort of aliens – but he kept in touch with the rest of the Tomorrow People by means of telepathy. Oddly, even though he was trying to keep a low profile, he spoke his thoughts aloud – almost as if he were using a mobile phone.

In the 1970s I really loved The Tomorrow People, even as I loved The Chrysalids. I yearned, and yearned hard, to be a telepath, and even today suspect I may be the only one (a lonely destiny). But who needs telepathy when you’ve got a mobile phone? Who needs a magic carpet when you’ve got Ryanair? Who needs a Brain Machine when you’ve got Google?

We ought to be going round staring at this world of magic-that-works in slack-jawed wonder, but thanks to Weberian disenchantment we are not – except when prodded. That’s a long story, but just as strange is that my daughter, who naturally takes modern technology for granted, didn’t seem to have her enjoyment of The Tomorrow People diminished in the least by the mundanity of their special powers.

She didn’t think much to the special effects, though.
Tags: maunderings
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