The End Is Nigh

by @edent | # #

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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