The End Is Nigh

I've just seen this amazing short film - The End by Ted Evans

The End

Ted also has a blog which talks about all the awards The End has deservedly won.

The premise of the film is simple - what if there was a cure for deafness? What if that cure was mandated? What if you refused?

All good sci-fi stuff - with neat parallels to today's society.

What really got me thinking was the way technology can have a profound - and often detriment - impact on communities.

I'm not going to get into the politics of Deaf-with-a-big-D - I'll leave that to Steve Day. Nor do I want to get on to whether technology "improves" people with disabilities.

I want to talk about the disruptive effect that technology can have on communities.

At a basic level, we no longer have men going round light gas lamps - or cleaning up after horse-pulled taxis. Those jobs, that way of life, those communities have vanished. Their stories have gone unrecorded. Somewhere - like the last survivor of an endangered species - was lamp-lighter wandering the land with no one to pass on his knowledge, his culture.

There is an argument to be made for letting endangered species going extinct - if the Panda is too lazy to reproduce, and can't adapt to its environment, its time for it to go.

Can we say the same of Taxi Drivers - soon replaced with robots? Bar tenders - replaced with vending machines? Hornby-esque record store clerks replaced with a perfect algorithm? Perhaps refuse collectors would rather the dirty jobs could be done by a machine?

I suppose the one saving grace is that the technology which allows us to obliterate jobs, skills, lifestyles, and communities - also allows us to record them for posterity.

We live in a beautiful and diverse world. I don't know if [D|d]eaf people would rather be able to hear - but I appreciate that the world is varied and complex. I worry - ever so slightly - that technology may be the great homogeniser.

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