Top Suspense writer horrified by pace of technological change

Speaking recently at the Telegraph Ways With Words festival in Dartington,Devon, Baroness James (i.e. P.D.James), one of the UK’s best selling crime writers, admitted that she is “frightened by the ‘horrifying’ pace of technological change brought about by the internet.” She raises a huge matter of concern to all those who have been unable to keep up with the rapid developments in personal computing computer and internet access.

Approaching 90 years of age, Baroness James looks by no means to be ready to hang-up her pen any time soon, but she is concerned that her generation, including herself ,are unable to do very little on the computer, except perhaps check for emails. She makes the valid point that many people who are not able to use the internet are being excluded by a society which insists that many personal transactions be conducted online, for example, booking a train ticket. This, she feels is beyond many, certainly the over 75s.

Well even at my age it is an issue for me. I have a powerful personal computer, and one of the latest mobile phones on the market. I do not profess to know a great deal of what it can do for me. The phone alone, I am told can deliver thousands of “apps”, or applications, to me providing such information as travel directions, where to eat out ,current share prices, weather forecasts, and much,much more. Clearly,I don’t need all this information, and certainly not all at once! I don’t lie awake at night worrying about what I am missing. However, I do need some basic functions out of my computing and electronic communication. All of us need to be able to recognize what it is we need out of the technological advances being made. We need to be able to be selective ,and perhaps concerned only with what helps each of us achieve at least a certain level of net benefit in our everyday lives: order groceries online, or book a ticket, write and receive emails, and so on. In this way we don’t become caught-up in the latest or ‘must have’ thing.

My great aunt was terrified of the telephone, and would avoid using it whenever she could. Unfortunately, like the telephone ,there are certain things that must become part of our lives, if we are to function at a reasonable level in society. The challenge for all of us is how best to deal with the rapid pace of  technological change threatening to frighten and engulf us. I hope that information posted here from time to time will help you if you need it to live to your potential. Until next then…

If you would like to check-out the full report of Baroness James’ speech ( which covered other interesting issues as well as personal computing) go to

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