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If You Could Turn Back the Clock on Tech, What Year Would You Choose?

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The Toronto Sun has the story of a Canadian family so fed up with modern technology that they've reverted back to 1986. And that goes for everything — they've ditched their smartphones and closed their social media accounts. They're listening to audio cassettes, using fax machines, and even wearing their hair in mullets! In a sense, they're a bit like an Amish family if the Amish thought that every piece of tech developed after 1986 (rather than the 19th century) was the distraction that would keep them from being a tightly knit family unit.

The McMillan family started their grand experiment back in April and say that they're going to do it for a full year. This, despite the fact that they're already seeing some adverse effects. (It's hard to find work in the year 2013 when so many potential employers only accept applications online.)

Every generation seems to have an evolving standard for what's more "pure" and "simple" when it comes to technology. We often point to something familiar within our own lifetime as a kind of golden age. Maybe it was when you were ten years old, before you were confronted with many of the trappings of adulthood. If you have children, maybe it was a time before your kids had desires and opinions of their own (and could ignore you, with their eyes glued to a tablet).


The McMillan family drew their line at 1986 because that was the year that both of the adults in the family were born. And that makes a lot of sense. They romanticize that year, and quite obviously for reasons that have more to do with personal nostalgia than anything about 21st century tech that can be objectively measured.

What about you? If you were given a magical time-freeze-ray, what year would you have frozen technological development? Do you think your romanticization of that particular year has anything to do with personal biases or do you think it was objectively better?


[Toronto Sun via The Atlantic]