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Modern Technology Is Eroding Our Society

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 pm, September 30th, 2018 - 52 comments
Categories: community democracy, democracy under attack, democratic participation, local body elections, police - Tags: , , ,

Two articles featured on Stuff today that, at first sight, have very little in common.

The first one was entitled Social media making new police recruits ill-equipped for life on the beat.

… Millennial rookies were ill-equipped for encounters with criminals and drunk or drugged people as they entered police training.

The use of internet technology is thought to be one of the main reasons.

New police recruits who have grown up in the internet age, with social media, emails and comment sections, struggle with face-to-face confrontation on the beat …

It does not say anything about the fact this is a much wider problem that is not just affecting new police recruits but many others as well. To be able to read & interpret social cues such as body language, facial and microexpressions is largely an acquired skill that requires continuous practice & tuning in real life.

When multi-culturalism and globalism keep on banging on the front door the way to deal with these challenges is not to withdraw into our shells, crawl back under our rocks, and hide in & behind or devices. We enjoy ever-expanding virtual lives but our real experiential lives seem to be shrinking and we do not even seem to realise it!

The second piece was on online voting and called Councils warned electronic voting will not be secure.

Much of the discussion centres on security and the risks of electoral fraud. I am not qualified to discuss these aspects.*

One of the arguments for introducing online voting is that it might counter decreasing voter turnout at elections.

There was evidence that online voting increased voter turn-out, so it was “a balance”, Ko said.

Online-voting was not a “silver bullet” for declining levels of voter participation but Delbet hoped it might slow down that decline

If indeed “voter participation” is defined & counted as the number of people who return a vote online voting might help. But voting is a democratic right (and duty!) that is for the people, by the people, and about what the people want. By reducing voting to a simple action on an electronic device, anywhere you are, it merely reduces this the  same level as ‘likes’ on social media and clicks on misleading headlines (click-bait) on SMS, for example. It does absolutely nothing to increase voter engagement with the democracy they live in. People tend to participate when they feel a sense of belonging and vice versa and I doubt that online voting enhances a feeling of belonging.

As I see it, we are slowly sliding towards a more technocratic democracy and society in which human-to-human interaction & communication is pushed into the background and taken over by human-to-device interaction. We are losing essential human social skills in the process and maybe this is inevitable to some degree but it should give us reason to pause and ponder.

*Please don’t comment on the security aspects of online voting. Either write your own post if you want to say something about that or take your comments to Open Mike. Thank you in advance.

52 comments on “Modern Technology Is Eroding Our Society”

  1. RedLogix 1

    I tend very much to agree.

    At the time of the last Kaikoura earthquake I recall an interview with some South Korean tourists who had been evacuated from the town, away from a low-lying area onto the hill behind. I know the place well; it overlooks both the sea and a stunning view of the farmland behind and the Seaward Kaikouras.

    The visitor spoke excellent English and in the course of the interview expressed his main reaction as one of ‘claustrophobia’. This puzzled my partner and I. It didn’t seem a logical response in such a wide open setting. Yet the clarification came later … what he had meant was that he had been cut off from the internet, and this involuntary exclusion from the virtual online world provoked a panic and fear. The real physical world meant way less to him emotionally than the virtual one in his smartphone. OK so this is a very minor anecdote, but one that’s stuck in my mind.

    I see it all the time with the younger people at work now; many are quite incapable of holding a conversation, however rudimentary. They don’t even seem to want to. It’s all a massive social experiment that we have no idea what the outcome will be.

    • Incognito 1.1

      Very revealing anecdote, thank you.

      The writing skills of the younger generation have gone downhill IMO. Essays are often a string of sentences (without punctuation!) or very short paragraphs with little binding or bridging narrative. They often struggle with the outline and flow when doing longer essays (long-form). I assume this is a reflection of their general cognitive abilities & reasoning, which is paradoxical because their intelligence as such has not gone backwards compared to, say, previous generations.

      • RedLogix 1.1.1

        And good to see your first post up. In the long run it’s the feedback and challenges that make it worthwhile. It’s a tough gig to sustain and I wish you the best.

        Cheers RL

  2. lprent 2

    As someone who has been working around the bleeding edges of this kind of technology for decades, I’m not sure that it is the issue with the technology so much as the parenting.

    I don’t particularly notice it with the near mid-20s graduates that come in as interns.

    Sure they typically don’t appear to have done night-shift in factories as I did after I turned 15 (and went to school during the day), haven’t done farm work and basic training as I did in 1977 or dealt with drunks in public bars as a barman from 1978 onwards (doing my degree during the day). But they’re at least as environmentally aware of the people around them and their quirks as I was when I went into my first post-uni jobs..

    They have courses that are somewhat more intense – especially in engineering. Had to balance the costs of living against their debts. I’d swear that most of them are better about living than they were when I was just out of uni. Less work experience outside of their professional areas. But way better at finding shit out and dealing with it.

    But yeah, I suspect that they haven’t stuffed a failed biker candidate’s head in the beer fridge while negotiating his ban with his mates on the other side of the bar. He’d come over the bar and the question was if they’d make sure that the munter learned to behave in my bar, or if the gang weren’t coming back. But that was a bit over the top even then for a 19yo part-timer barman.

    However I’m pretty sure that those uni kids could learn pretty fast these days if they got put in that kind of environment.

    Where I do notice it is with the kids of the even moderately affluent. They seem to be way more naive and self-involved than I remember. I get the impression that they’ve been semi-segregated from birth. Smaller families. Fewer siblings and cousins. Fewer places where they can associate with any other kids in an unstructured environs – cars to school etc. Schools segregated both as private schools and by graduations of relative poverty. Way more childish much later.

    I just get the impression that they finally start learning life when they get into tertiary education and actually start mixing more.

    Perhaps the police should just get them later ? Or get activists. They sure as hell don’t have much of an issue with people. Just problems with police 🙂

    BTW: good to see you here. Added a featured image for the front page and dropped the font size of footnote.

    • Incognito 2.1

      Thanks Lynn for adding an image to the post. First post through WP and trying to figure out how to use the ropes. I had an image lined up but that didn’t work. The font size was off too. And I believe I ticked moderation on 🙁

      • lprent 2.1.1

        You’ll get used to it pretty fast. I figured that you’d used something before – you got blockquotes, categories, tags and a excerpt first time around.

        “Featured image” is on the right in the post edit. If you can’t see it, then click at the “Screen Options” at the top right and turn on what you want. There is an extensive library of images, so usually just type in something relevant and see what comes up. Otherwise have a look in google images.

        The blocks in the post edit screen are draggable, so you can pull them to how you like the layout.

        You’ll usually find that the posts are easier to edit online. If you want to paste something in, it usually pays to use the text tab view so you can see whatever rubbish came in from word ( 🙂 ). It backs edited posts up about every 4 or so minutes, so you seldom lose much in the event of a connection drop if you get them.

        • solkta

          see whatever rubbish came in from word

          When i copy stuff for layout i usually paste and copy it through Notepad as that is sure to remove any residual formatting.

  3. Stuart Munro 3

    There’s more than one side to the equation:


    Time was you could walk into pretty much any works in the country and get a job – it didn’t come with great aesthetics, but you’d be able to save a bit.

    It’s the employers who’ve changed – young kiwis will still pretty much give things a go. And older ones for that matter.

  4. lprent 4

    Time was you could walk into pretty much any works in the country and get a job – it didn’t come with great aesthetics, but you’d be able to save a bit.

    Except farmhand jobs. But that hasn’t changed much in the last 40 odd years.

    These days where the jobs are, there are also the exorbitant housing costs and high costs of living..

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      Yup – and it’s not even cheap in the country now. Did a bit of fruit picking back in the day – there was free accommodation at most – nothing flash, but it meant you kept what you earned. None of that now, so you lose half what you earn & need a car to get from where you stay to the orchard. No surprise if there are few takers.

      • Delia 4.1.1

        They were in the paper for a terrible industrial accident at the meat works in which a newly trained left alone worker lost his hand in a machine. He had to walk to get assistance as he was so far from the other workers. He had been on the job for three weeks and was working unsupervised and unadvised and they wonder they cannot get staff?

        • Stuart Munro

          If a worker could lose his hand in a machine I’m surprised health & safety & ACC haven’t led a crusade agin them – some Gnat insider prevented it no doubt.

          I should write to them – greedy maiming assholes wouldn’t be the worst employers I’ve had.

  5. Monty 5

    I travel a lot for work (at least twice through Asia and one other longer flight maybe US, Europe or Nz) and the longer the flight the better I feel. I constantly tell whoever I can at airlines don’t put in wifi.

    It’s my time when I can reflect, mediate and the outside digital space isn’t pulling me in.

    I have a nice wine and pretend the food is good if the flight Long enough put the seat into lie flat and sleep.

    Flights are one of the last places to switch off and just get in tune with yourself.

    • lprent 5.1

      I have been travelling offshore for work again for the last 3 years. This year looks like 4 months of the year in three trips to Singapore. Each of the previous couple of years were had 2-3 months in Italy.

      Up until this job, the last time I allowed overseas travel in my contract was in 1991. That was the flights used to be so damn boring and I couldn’t do things like sysop sites over dialup modems from Thailand. Back in 1991, I came back from singapore and managed to read nearly 2000 pages on the flight before I ran out of books somewhere over the east coast of aussie. I could go overweight on the books I’d need for a european trip.

      The only reason that I allowed travel in my contracts again was because of technology. I could carry my own entertainment, and I didn’t have to fall out communication with my partner, family, friends, servers or networks wherever I was going. It was something that I have problems with at home, let alone in a hotel room in the Italian alps.

      But I could load a library or a few thousand books into my phone, preload some movies or shows on to it off netflix or whatever (the airline movies really suck), and carry a few thousand hours of music + a usb cable for charging. A couple of laptops with a 9 hours of charge and a pile of tricky bits of code that would fun to look at. I usually get wifi on the plane so that I can do something on this site or look up something that I haven’t had time to do for the previous 3 months.

      I spend way too much time on project and people handling which is tediously time consuming and invariably completely obvious. It just gets in the way of writing code or just thinking – which is what I enjoy doing (and what I get paid for).

      If I want to get in tune with myself, I usually just take some time off, lie down and think or read or sleep for a few days. After all that is why I brought the old Rose and Heather bed. It makes doing nothing so easy. A airline seat is a very poor substitute and much cheaper substitute.

      If I want a decent wine, I go to Glengarrys or the even the supermarket and get something I actually like. And I can always get a decent meal around Ponsonby or Kingsland. Or I get on the bike and see where the bike trails have gotten to since I last looked at them.

      Or I could just sit down at home and write something creative. Code or a post..

      But I certainly don’t get on a plane. I didn’t fly offshore from 1992 until 2013 after watching the tasman for a few hours coming back from Singapore. It wasn’t relaxing. It was just dead boring.

      But my partner dragged me off to Samoa for a week in 2013 – primarily because she has an aversion to Northland. I realised that if I could get a workable system running in Samoa, then I could do the next contract with some offshore provisions in the contract..

      But I live in my head and the net is tool. And I’m effectively a digital elder since I started using it during my first university degree at the end of the 1970s. The digital space has had no real pull on me since the early 90s.

      It is just something I use to look things up and to get things done. Damn irritating trying to find paper information when the power or the links go out because half of my memory has gone AWOL.

      • Monty 5.1.1

        I guess intellect is different in different folks, I certainly couldn’t do what you do.

        I can get great wine or food wherever and it’s everywhere living in Hong Kong. HKG has amazing F&B.

        I still own a place in Grey Lynn close to the bond st bridge and loved the central lifestyle. Before I left NZ I know kingsland well citizen park was a favourite. But I dId prefer the Asian hub on dominion Rd.

        But what you choose is fine and important to you. You have multiple degrees which is a credit to you. I don’t, I have a diploma from NZ in my youth and spent my early years doing humanitarian work (10years) in various parts of the world. Now I have a mba from Auckland uni, the joint MBA that Harvard offers and completing the Australian directors certificate from Macquarie uni all of which have been completed while working full time. So I really respect the amount of effort you have put in attaining yours as it is bloody hard work.

        Being able to complete degree or MBA does do not define intellect, IQ, EQ or most importantly ability.

        I enjoy not being connected on a plane. I have time to reflex and realign. It relaxes me as I travel constantly I hope that wifi diesnt become the norm and air travel is the bastion that stops connectivity. That is my hope.

    • Incognito 5.2

      I can relate to that; I almost never take electronics with me when I travel (always intercontinental long-haul flights). Don’t use the in-flight ‘entertainment’ either. I generally love watching other people going about their business, anywhere 😉

  6. Ant 6

    A timely piece. Preoccupation with online social media invades the present moment and all that it has of poignancy, meaning and subtlety. Our hominid ancestors relied on being present and alert for survival. Much value there is (I believe) in the widespread return to mindfulness/ meditation, affording balance to the non-stop (often) trivial stimulation afforded by social media. The inner connection steadies the mind but also amounts to a “reboot” (sorry!) of the psyche providing a return to the everyday freed to a degree from the clutter of online stuff.

  7. millsy 7

    This is also a reason for a lot of depression and anxiety out there. In an always connected world, it’s always easy for someone to pull you into their dramas, or to want something.

  8. I don’t completely agree here. My youngest now 18 got way more technology than the 25 year old. She is very social media savvy and probably spent way too much time on it in her school years . She is by far my most confident and outgoing offspring. She has real time friends goes out with them. The difference is the parenting. I was far less anxious by the time I got to number three. At 11 she and her friends were going out by themselves using public transport. By 13 or 14 they went to concerts by themselves. That’s the difference. Allow and trust our pre teens and teens to go out without us hovering.

    • Incognito 8.1

      Yes, Lynn also commented on parenting.

      I also agree that many younger people display huge (self-)confidence and are quite assertive. This is not too surprising in the era of the Self. On this note, is it not enormously tragic that people die when taking selfies? But at the same time there are many whose inner lives are in constant turmoil and I believe (!) there is now more anxiety and depression among younger people in particular. Often this is well-hidden but maybe an overlooked reason is that they find it harder to express themselves and their emotions to others?

      My argument is that the use of modern technology such as the internet and personal mobile devices are a factor but by no means the only factor.

  9. adam 9

    I thought postal voting was the great stop/halt on the decline of voting. And yet….

    This spin by the penny pinchers is getting beyond a joke. One hack later, and the whole concept of voting will be called into question rather than the muppets who pushed the idea of online voting.

    The census was a bad joke. The data from it will be flawed. I know a lot of people who just did not fill it in, law abiding types who this was their first experience of breaking the law.

    If you want people to vote, then politicians need to represent people not the destructive ideology of liberalism.

    • Incognito 9.1

      I also thought about the latest Census in which participation is mandatory with a risk of a fine and yet the completion rate was below target. There are a number of reasons for this but it does indeed show that simply making voluntary on-line voting possible is not going to solve anything on its own. In fact, my argument is that it risks alienating people even further from politics and the democratic process (or what’s left of it).

  10. Michelle 10

    Poor communication is one of the main skills lost due to modern technology . Now days people just push buttons and sit behind screens and most don’t care what they say cause they don’t have to look a person in the eye so they can be as nasty as they like.

    • Incognito 10.1

      Yes, same thing happens when people crawl behind the steering wheel of their car and let their dark side come out and even take over. There are no cues to moderate or correct their behaviour; they only interact & engage with a machine (in this case, a car). Would be interesting to do a study with people talking on a mobile in a place where they’re surrounded by people compared to people talking on the phone (speakerphone, of course) when in the car. Wouldn’t surprise if these sorts of studies haven’t already been done.

  11. Bill 11

    A bit of a segue, but It’s going to be fun if/when the lights go out, innit? 😉

    Someone relayed a story to me of how two people were interviewed during an extended power cut due to a winter storm. One person was “getting on” (in both senses of the phrase) while the youngster was doing the “fish on dry land” flap.

    Technology has taken away our need to know how to do some stuff – including but not limited to the knack of richer social interactions. Which is fine for as long as the technology is there I guess.

  12. esoteric pineapples 12

    “We are slowly sliding towards a more technocratic democracy and society in which human-to-human interaction & communication is pushed into the background and taken over by human-to-device interaction. We are losing essential human social skills in the process”

    I tend to see this new social technology as aiding and enhancing communication. For instance, I know a huge number of people who are now in successful long term relationships after finding their other online, one way or another. Ironically, two met each other after living only a few kilometres from each other. They probably would never have met otherwise.

    I’ve found social media has connected me to lots of people I never would otherwise have known, plus stay connected to people who would previously have gone out of my life when they moved town or whatever. People are communicating more than ever with each other.

    Face to face communication is important of course, but forces destroying this are probably not driven directly by new technology. For instance, unemployment and changes in the way people communicate at work can be socially destructive. Less personal interaction with self help at the supermarket, and no interaction at the money machine. Small shops disappearing.

    I suspect that the motorcar has been far more destructive of social interaction over the past century than modern technology ever will be, literally driving people into isolating lifestyles.

    Going back to the original quote, this may be the result of an ever growing world population, as people are squeezed into mega cities with limited incomes, so no opportunity to get out of their own neighbourhood. Instead, they are reliant on the hyper reality of “cyber space” not by choice but necessity. While the wealthy think nothing of going swimming with the dolphins, the poor must be content with watching people swimming with dolphins on youtube – for as long as dolpins exist after which even the rich will be watching them on a screen, but maybe a bigger HQ one

    • Incognito 12.1

      True, our reach has been extended enormously and the range of possibilities literally at our fingertips is mindboggling. The point is that online social interaction & communication is not equal to real life face-to-face interaction and that the former is starting to (negatively) influence the latter and not the other way round.

      Cities are great places to meet people and socialise and it doesn’t have to cost anything! But I do take your point that the poorer people will have less opportunity to get out of town for a break and new exciting experiences. Did you know that some Kiwi kids at colleges in Auckland have never been to a beach? I guess we cannot all have the same experiences. For example, a ‘rich kid’ may never experience the camaraderie of a public skateboard ramp in a poorer suburb but may feel the thrill of snowboarding with their mates. Who’s better or worse off?

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      I suspect that the motorcar has been far more destructive of social interaction over the past century than modern technology ever will be, literally driving people into isolating lifestyles.

      That and stand alone housing that needs cars just to get to the shop. I’ve done a lot of walking in the last ten years and I’ve almost never seen anyone outside of their houses. People don’t walk to the shop and stop to talk with others – they take the car.

      Community needs to be built around walking and interacting and not isolation and drivng.

  13. Draco T Bastard 13

    If indeed “voter participation” is defined & counted as the number of people who return a vote online voting might help. But voting is a democratic right (and duty!) that is for the people, by the people, and about what the people want. By reducing voting to a simple action on an electronic device, anywhere you are, it merely reduces this the same level as ‘likes’ on social media and clicks on misleading headlines (click-bait) on SMS, for example. It does absolutely nothing to increase voter engagement with the democracy they live in. People tend to participate when they feel a sense of belonging and vice versa and I doubt that online voting enhances a feeling of belonging.

    Really, going to the voting booth is no different from ticking likes on Facebook but it does take longer.

    Done well online voting could not only make it easier to vote but also easier to find the information needed to make an informed decision. If we want people to engage in politics then we need to teach them how and encourage them to read the information.

    And, after all that, what you really looking for is community participation and that requires people to engage in social activity which has been declining as people’s incomes have stagnated and decreased over the last 30 years. It’s very difficult to engage socially with others when you, quite literally, can’t afford to.

    • Incognito 13.1

      I probably explained it poorly but physically having to go to the booth, interact with staff, mix & mingle with other people, often in one’s own local community, cannot be compared to ticking a box, be it on a piece of paper or on-line. Even better if the whole household goes together to the voting station and has a coffee afterwards and engages in political conversation.

      I would advocate for serious civics education.

      Social engagement or activity does not and should not cost anything. A Sunday market is a great place to look around and talk with people; you won’t have to spend a dime. Meetings in community halls are free too. So are public libraries. Working bees at schools or clubs, for example, are a great social activity that cost little to nothing apart from a bit of sweat.

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        I probably explained it poorly but physically having to go to the booth, interact with staff, mix & mingle with other people, often in one’s own local community, cannot be compared to ticking a box, be it on a piece of paper or on-line.

        Yeah, actually, it can. I’d be surprised if any more than 1% of people interacted with anyone else at the voting booth beyond what’s necessary to get the piece of paper to tick.

        Even better if the whole household goes together to the voting station and has a coffee afterwards and engages in political conversation.

        Never happens.

        Social engagement or activity does not and should not cost anything.

        But it does. Time and transport at the very minimum.

        A Sunday market is a great place to look around and talk with people; you won’t have to spend a dime.

        No it’s not and yes you will.

        Meetings in community halls are free too. So are public libraries.

        No they’re not. Why do you insist that time and transport are free?

        Working bees at schools or clubs, for example, are a great social activity that cost little to nothing apart from a bit of sweat.

        Since when did everybody do that?

  14. Siobhan 14

    As the long suffering owner of a second hand bookshop I can say there has been a marked and very disturbing deterioration in people’s ability to look on a shelf for themselves; use two hands to pick up a book; or to simply relax and browse.
    I have had to become ‘The Interface’.
    I am now expected to, almost literally, ‘hold the customers hand’ as they wander the shop. Usually with their phone firmly gripped as they google lists of ‘the 1000 books you must read before you die”.
    They simply lack the ability to explore on their own volition.
    Their eyes and hands are seemingly useless.
    They have become totally dependent on ‘googling’ a title and having it delivered immediately.
    And its a problem for baby Boomers as much as millenials. which is rather odd, given that for most of their lives baby boomers would have purchased the majority of their books in a bricks and mortar shop.

    Come the zombie apocalypse these people will be zombie food within the first few minutes as they stare, completely dumbfounded, at their dead devices.

    • Delia 14.1

      Could be sight, I struggle to find books now without my glasses and even than I am not as quick as I used to be at locating books.

    • Incognito 14.2

      I love the smell, look, and feel of books, even the sound of turning the pages. I’ve never measured it (need a Fitbit for that) but I reckon my heartrate goes down by a few bpm when I touch a book.

      What I don’t like is the little excerpts on the inside cover from other people who are somebody or from newspapers (so-called literary critics) recommending the book in question. They never say: this is a crap book, don’t read it because you will be sorely disappointed.

      • McFlock 14.2.1

        Ah, but reprints of the classics can be fun. In order to provide copyrightable material, they often have a couple of essays by literature professors in the front as a preface.

        My favourite was a copy of Dracula, which is an interesting book. The foreword basically ripped shit out of the entire thing, and to be fair the comments were fair themselves: the hair colour of one of the female characters changes two or three times, the timelines are disjointed, much of the prose has little rhythm, much of the imagery is clumsy. But the essay ended up spending a lot of time pointing out that after all that, Stoker somehow put the story together in a form that bypassed the critical faculties and engaged directly with the audience’s imagination. TL:DR: It’s utter crap regurgitated by a hack, but somehow it’s genius

        • Incognito

          Prefaces can be good (I usually don’t bother with them); they are not the click-bait (Buy Me!) that you often find on the inside or back cover. I liked the story about Dracula 🙂

    • Draco T Bastard 14.3

      Come the zombie apocalypse these people will be zombie food within the first few minutes as they stare, completely dumbfounded, at their dead devices.

      They made a movie about it.

  15. Gareth 15

    Decreasing voter turnout is an overhyped concept. The trend is down, but looking at a cumulative average from 1914 to today we’re down from a high of 88.83% in 1972 to 86.5% last election.

    Last years turnout was the 4th highest turnout in the 8 MMP elections.

    Looking at it in real numbers, we’re down ~10% from the 90% turnouts of the 1940s.

    If you look at Australia’s federal elections to see what a compulsory voting system might give you, they had a 91% turnout for federal elections in 2016 compared to our 79.8%. Their state election rates are a bit lower, BUT they had an informal vote rate of 6% (that’s intentionally ruined ballots), so their actual voting rate was 85%

    • greywarshark 15.1

      Do we have notice taken of informal rate and incorrectly filled out rate (they aren’t necessarily the same thing)? If so can you tell us what it is?

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      The trend is down, but looking at a cumulative average from 1914 to today we’re down from a high of 88.83% in 1972 to 86.5% last election.

      Where did you get that BS from?


      Overall turnout as a percentage of enrolled electors was 79.8%, the highest turnout since 2005 when it was 80.9%.

      If you look at Australia’s federal elections to see what a compulsory voting system might give you, they had a 91% turnout for federal elections in 2016 compared to our 79.8%.

      And that 91% is a hell of a lot better than 79.8% (how did you get it right there but wrong further up?)

  16. McFlock 16

    I dunno – it might be technology stunting emotional IQ, or it could just be that a larger proportion of our youth are completely unfamiliar with how to deal with situations that face police officers on a daily basis. I’m not so sure that’s a bad thing.

    On the flipside, assumptions that online voting will increase voter turnout need to be revisited after the census coverage this year. While not catastrophic, census coverage was still significantly lower this year than in previous censusses (censi?). I suspect that the census undercount would also have been non-randomly distributed, so applying a similar methodology to voting would effectively disenfranchise those same sectors of the community.

  17. Exkiwiforces 17

    An excellent post, I even had a few giggles as I was reading the comments. As it reminded me of a funny moments and some very worried concerns/ tends from some of the old hands still in and us ex old hands from work about today’s generation of soldiers and Ground Defence personal of the Airforce.

    That old skills sets like read maps, using compasses, of bearings and pacers etc. To understanding basic weather patterns, using the sun and stars for nav and rough estimate of telling the time. Even some basic first aid field, how to cook a simple meal wash clothes in a bucket to basic hygiene has gone at window now with today’s lot compared to say 10- 15 or even 20yrs ago.

    To living rough in a unfamiliar environment without all the mod cons of modern life and able to live of the land if the logistics system goes Sth etc.

    I won’t going on about E polling or E votes or whatever it is called atm, as have some major concerns of it like privacy and security.

  18. Kay 18

    A recent anecdote that perhaps connects the two links.

    A few months ago walking down to my local shopping centre I found myself walking towards 3 young uniformed police officers walking abreast and taking up the whole footpath, casually strolling, not on the beat by the looks of it and yakking to each other, certainly not aware of their surroundings!

    After getting over the shock of actually seeing uniformed police on the street in real life, I was very aware that they were not in the least aware they were hogging the entire footpath and a member of the public was heading straight for them, so I decided to conduct an experiment and just keep walking, slightly to the left side of the footpath. Sure enough I collided head on with one of the cops who just muttered something and kept on going- not even an apology, yet alone any acknowledgement. Appalling behaviour, so bad training, bad pre-training screening, part of the me me me generation, or an inability to recognise anything happening beyond their immediate bubble?

    I have my own reasons for no confidence in the police which predates the social media generation. Whether or not this experience is somehow connected, it really doesn’t bode well if they can’t seem to multi-focus on their immediate surroundings. Not safe for anyone.

    • Incognito 18.1

      Oh dear, that sounds indeed pretty appalling, Kay. I’ve noticed this same lack of consideration let alone concern for other people in their immediate surroundings at schools, and no devices involved. I’d subscribe this largely to being the consequence of the Me generation.

  19. Jackel 19

    Personally, I’d rather play the game than watch it from the sidelines. But then we don’t want to wake the slumbering masses by kicking the ball through their windows do we? Could be tricky.

  20. R.P Mcmurphy 20

    this is post modern society where we are all ruggid indeevidyoualls and only your own truths count.
    my hardly davison, jetski, chainsaw, leafblower, angle grinder all go to show what a wonderful person I am and you cant have them because they are mine and I can make the loudest noise.

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