Jane Bradley: Why does new technology take the fun out of life?

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IT SOMETIMES seems that technology companies are just out to take the fun out of life. Microsoft’s new XBox One has been the subject of an internet furore in recent weeks following reports which claimed that to play second-hand games on its new console, gamers may have to pay a fee. Not only that, but technology built into the console will stop them from swapping games unless they also swap a complicated series of access codes and account details.

The whole thing just adds red tape to having fun. And that is not what having fun should be about. Obviously, from Microsoft’s point of view, it wants people to buy more games. But measures should be in place to stop people from pirating games and cynically screwing the company out of generating an income – not to stop cash-strapped teenagers from playing beat-up, scratched copies of old games with their friends, or from lending a game to a mate.

Of course, Microsoft has not yet confirmed whether these rumours are true. But I find that technology often takes the fun out of having fun.

For example, I often wonder how in the future, any believable rom coms are ever going to be made. The premise of your typical rom com is often the same: Boy meets Girl, they like each other. A misunderstanding happens. They lose touch. After a long to-ing and fro-ing during which time the audience is desperately vying for them to reconnect, they eventually do. They all live happily ever after.

In real life now, of course, that would never happen. Girl would friend Boy on Facebook after their first date. They would connect on What’s App. They would not only know exactly where each other was at any given moment, but they would also likely know exactly what the other was thinking about the relationship along with several hundred online “friends”. This is a problem which few filmmakers are yet to address. It’s not so much “You’ve Got Mail” as “You’ve got a Facebook message. And a Tweet. And a multimedia picture message. And a FaceTime request.” Tom Hanks’s poor little head would explode.

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