The term Luddite was first coined at the beginning of the nineteenth century and derived from one Ned Ludd. He was a textile worker who inspired his co workers to rise up and confront what they saw as a threat to their whole existence - new technology. With the industrial age and development of new machines in large factories the mostly craft based textile workers saw many of their colleagues put out of work. Feeling threatened they banded together into a militant group known as Luddites and went around the country attacking and destroying machinery wherever they could.
A neo-luddite is now a term used to describe someone who is opposed to automation and computerisation in general.
Believe it or not someone who has made more money than most from modern day technology, Sir Elton John, describes himself as a neo- luddite and claims not to have a mobile phone. He is in good company because Ozzy Osbourne, Tom Cruise and Simon Cowell apparently don't have one as well.
But, alas we are but a small intelligent minority because the rest of the world is addicted to technology. Just go to any phone shop in Dubrovnik and see if you can get served within 30 minutes. This addictive behaviour goes pretty much unnoticed except in China. With 350 million gamers, things have become so bad that the government, which has described gaming as its biggest addiction problem has had to open boot camps as rehabilitation clinics for mostly males who are that addicted to playing games they won't leave their rooms. In 2015 CNN reported that a 32 year old man was found dead in Taiwan after he went on a three day playing binge.
Machines are invading our privacy wherever you look. You can't walk around most major cities in the world without being followed by CCTV cameras . A few days ago I was awaken by a buzzing sound, not my trusty windup clock, but a nasty little machine hovering outside my window called a drone. If I had possessed a weapon it would have been a dead drone! Incidentally the word drone in my country used to be a derogatory name given to someone who was extremely boring. I could go one for hours but suffice to say pretty much everybody reading this article would have a nervous breakdown if I took away their mobile phone and computer for an hour.
We are now moving into the realms of the ridiculous as there is currently a debate raging in Britain as to whether people should be banned from texting while walking as many of these tragic characters are getting themselves killed as they stagger around in a zombie like state. The world is going mad.
If it keeps going the way it has been, in a few generations people will not be able to talk to each other one on one and will only feel comfortable using a two dimensional screen. Half the world is already there. Humans will lose all those basic skills which have allowed us to survive for millions of years so far. The ability to sense and read people's body language will be given over to a computer to figure out; all our food will be grown by machines and I could go on and on but you get the point.
Interestingly enough I may not need to challenge anybody to live without their technology because that good old boy who lives in the sky, the sun, may do it for me. I'm talking about solar flares or Coronal Mass Ejections (CME’s) which are not heat but electromagnetism and particles of plasma which carry a charge like the solar equivalent of a lightning bolt. A major CME is powerful enough to challenge the earth’s magnetic field. These types of events occur between every 100 to 500 years and the last one occurred in 1859 when technology was only in its infancy with telegraph services being 15 years old. First observed by an astronomer and later given his name the Carrington Event burnt out all telegraph lines all over the world and destroyed the teleprinters. Even simple magnetic compasses refused to point north for hours.
This was not a world ruled by satellites which would have been destroyed instantly. There was no internet and all the reliance that it brings. There were no automated machines to dispense money nor GPS in cars . Put simply it was a world that bore very little resemblance to the technology obsessed one we live in today and therefore barely touch by the sun’s anger. It doesn't take much imagination to consider the chaos that would ensue in the world when such an event occurs. Sure in time the damage could be repaired and we would not go back to the dark ages but in the down time events may overtake us all.
Apart from the mass depression which would grip all those on earth who could not access technology the real worry are what national leaders might do. It wouldn't be exaggerating to suggest that a world war may ensue. If we survive the big flare there are some positives as we will be forced to realise that a blind reliance on technology and the benefits it brings will come at an unacceptably high cost and make some changes. We may all realise that time spent not sharing with everyone our bodily functions via twitter or spending hours in asinine pursuits on Facebook may be more productively spent learning some good old fashion skills which don't rely on a computer.