Dear Dad … 1)
How much did you know about computers, before you died? You were always interested in everything – mathematics, mechanics, chess, story writing, places, people, politics, history. I suppose the computing principles were well known, and you’d have understood the on/off switch principles to enable coding, punched tape – the resulting calculating computers (eg those enabling the moon landings) – amazing but many still room size, and the new silicon chip work.
Did you imagine about the shrinkage of size that would probably occur, the ubiquitous ownership, the constant games and instantaneous sharing of information world-wide, accessible everywhere, and to anyone via cables (especially using light pulses in fibres), and earth-orbiting satellites. Gadgets to find your personal location anywhere in the world and provide driving directions to wherever you want to go. And phones that could be used anywhere, cordless, emitting and receiving by radio waves: constant communication, immediate and brief, rather than the waited-for personal meeting, with conversation accompanied by facial expression and observed body language and careful replies, or the occasional thought-out postal letter.
These changes don’t really alter the challenge of daily living and hatred and love, kindness and evil in our hearts, in our society. Can be very useful, can be an intrusion and waste of time, and cause of misunderstanding, spread of lies.
Much change, but no real difference!
and there’s me, now, nearly seventy, married, four children, all married, six grandchildren, and another developing!
(he died in 1969, nearly 50 years ago, and I am imagining talking to him about the world now.
Nothing mystical, just an interesting exercise thinking of the changes of 50 years. This is supposed to be the first of a series, but whether other ideas will take clear form, I don’t know – not this week anyway!)