Town mouse contemplates technology

There's an app for that.

It’s insidious. Technology has crept up on me and now controls most of my life. One app tells me when the bus is coming, another calls a taxi—except that Hailo has been superseded by Uber, which supplies a cab, driven by immigrants for whom London might as well be the Moon, but who are equipped with satnav. I bank from my phone. Admittedly, nothing is perfect and certainly not BT, which has enabled the exchange for superfast broadband (to meet prime ministerial targets), but won’t actually supply it to households in our SW1 area because it’s ‘uneconomic’. Hoxton, Shoreditch and even part of the City of London are similarly deprived. What does BT want? Our blood?

The ultimate horror appeared on a recent flight to America, when the passenger across the aisle from me wanted to use his mobile phone. Yes, you can on an aircraft these days. Once the cabin crew had got it working, he never stopped. What was it that Macbeth said about being ‘cabined, cribbed, confined, bound in’? Then, I took a cruise on the Irrawaddy in Burma. No internet, no functioning mobile. My anxiety attack was succeeded by a state of Buddhist calm. Freedom from the neurosis of the personal mobile device has become, along with dark skies and the absence of noise pollution, one of the modern world’s true luxuries.