Out of all the flurry of Apple news updates yesterday (very excited about Siri!), @psparkle noted one minute addition that looks like a small but smart move on Apple’s part. Users can now take photos and for $5 have Apple print the photo and mail it as a postcard to anyone, anywhere in the world. Smart move, indeed, but what this makes me think about is the recurring feeling I’ve had that we’ve progressed quite quickly in many areas thanks to technology evolving at a crazy speed, yet there are all these signs that maybe we went a little over board, a bit too fast, and are looking and perhaps yearning for things to return to, or at least remind us, of how they used to be.
The first time I ever thought about this was when I saw this sign in Berkeley that was promoting lemonade available inside the cafe. “Made from real lemons!” it said. I remember laughing and then having the strange realization that it was quite a fitting claim to make since most “lemonades” nowadays contain all kinds of junk. There was probably a 15 year chunk where all the lemonade I drank was artificial. But times are changing, and surprisingly back to how it used to be. You see this a lot with food right now and the whole “whole foods unprocessed diet” stuff, organic, local. It’s like we advanced too quickly and have only just now realized it’s too much. It’s like we drank the kool-aid and just now said, “wait, what is this?”
Another interesting example of this is the recently trending urban farming, particularly Detroit urban farming. There have been numerous articles detailing the changes taking place in Detroit, an industrial city that has experienced quite a bit of downturn in recent years. Now, the industrial and once barren city that jumped on the manufacturing ball has returned to the roots of the land, literally. Bittman claims the city is now filled with gardens, and the people claim that this farming “can empower, drive the economy, reduce [their] carbon footprint…” It’s so interesting to me to see a city that was overcome by the industrial boom now returning to what it originally housed a long, long time ago. It’s also funny to contrast the two, industrial vs. agriculture, and for it the direction of travel to be going back to agriculture.
I honestly think that technology has and will continue to advance so fast that sometimes we, as a society, won’t know which areas are taking it too far until we’ve tried it for some time. At that point, it will be behoove us to use technology to innovate how we can incorporate the new resources with the old ideas.