What’s this guy’s beef with technology?

I was touring Europe and found that too many people held up smartphones and cameras in front of their eyes that not only blocked our view of Italy and Greece’s wondrous sites, but also got me thinking about the state technology and the rabid photo-seeking habits we all have. For instance, why don’t people want to see things with their eyes? So, my wild imagination ran amuck and out of it came a story called Datapocalypse.

Datapocalypse?! What’s this guy’s beef with technology? You might ask. Well, nothing really. So long as it doesn’t enslave those it purports to help or provide conveniences to. Let me explain…

Like any good idea, new technology needs to have safeguards and controls—even some regulations (sorry libertarians!)—to ensure it doesn’t have a runaway effect that diverts from its benefits and leads to unintended consequences (or maybe intended consequences if you’re a conspiracy theory buff). It reminds me of a mushroom patch growing fervently in front of eager mushroom pickers’ eyes, except the mushrooms are poisonous and nobody knows it yet. Okay, maybe that’s a little melodramatic but I aim to entertain as well as get a point across.

This is kind of the theme behind Datapocalypse, not that I’m offering any spoilers here since I strongly recommend you read it for yourself (I had to say that!). A theme where unintended consequences of peoples’ actions combined with hyper-advanced and unconstrained technology takes control of our world. It’s a dystopian analysis, or what-if scenario. There’s an interesting quote written by famed sci-fi novelist Neil Gaiman from his foreword of Fahrenheit 451 who said:

“…What speculative fiction is really good at is not the future but the present—taking an aspect of it that troubles or is dangerous, and extending and extrapolating that aspect into something that allows the people of that time to see what they are doing from a different angle and from a different place. It’s cautionary.” 

I’d say most writers in the speculative fiction genre, myself included, prescribe this in one way or another. I do feel that some parts of technology—software and Internet paradigms especially—can take peoples’ attention and precious time away from witnessing the true beauty of the world. Like social media invoking fervent and excessive picture taking and posting online. It kind of dilutes the whole essence of our sense of sight, literally. Really. Think about it and tell me if I’m wrong. But after seeing all the data storage my smartphone uses for pictures and videos, I’m starting to think a purge is warranted. Just take this scene from Datapocalypse:

Pulling up a seat across from Wotely, Kicis then said, “Basically, the need for storage space is somehow purging real-life objects so humans can’t aggregate any more.” 

Wotely chuckled, then said, “Do you know how crazy that sounds out loud?”

“Less crazy the more times I say it.”

“But what this means, what it signifies, is utter madness,” Wotely said. 

“Madness, like this…” Kicis whipped out his Celesti-π and showed Wotley the device’s (smartphone) reaction after he uploaded a bunch of pics to Soma in real-time. This time it cleared the table as it jumped up and onto the floor. It was spared by the thick case Kicis had recently equipped it with, but still made eerie and violent noises after it hit the ground.

All that said, I recognize that technology has provided many conveniences too. Why, just look at the self-publishing industry. It allows people like myself who may stand little chance of landing a traditional publishing deal for their novels—due to the MAJOR competition out there—to, at least, attempt to get our stories out into the world on our own. I must admit, as a newer author, I’m still struggling with this but as you keep reading and resonating with what I and others like myself write, then I’d call that a success in and of itself! If you decide to read and review Datapocalypse or any of my upcoming short stories, for example, then that’s wildly successful for me! 

With all the progressive technologies out there helping emerging writers including Kindle Direct Publishing, IngramSpark, Reedsy, StoryOrigin and a very long list of others, everyone’s inner-writer can now come to life. There’s a success story from technology proliferation! Just be careful what you upload to the cloud… 

I’ll leave out all the other stuff in Datapocalypse about buildings disappearing, tongue-in-cheek dialogue and rogue AI. That, you’ll need to read for yourself. If you need further convincing, please check out my book trailer: https://youtu.be/tyv8l_IuYdg 

Thanks for listening. Keep reading and supporting indie authors.

Peace, love and datapocalypse,

Christopher Keast

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