Planned Obsolescence – it’s so 20th century

June 17, 2013

Update your software – and your hardware, indeed, now that the operating system you’ve been using has been improved by the latest batch of hyper-competitive program writing or technology streamlining geeks. Act quickly, you don’t want to be left behind.

And to be sure, so many improvements are real and helpful. The online learning system recently instituted at my college saves a ton of printing. I’m writing this post on my phone while on the train. We can share information globally and instantly. It’s awesome.

But all those precious metals in our phones, the batteries and their poisons, the radiation we increase daily, the fuels we burn to keep it all running – this is the 21st century version of the car or fridge built specifically to last about 5 minutes past its warranty date, planned to break down or become otherwise obsolete so that it can be replaced at another cost.

More profit. More retail therapy. More consumption. This game has only evolved, beyond the machine age and into the digital revolution.

Oh brave new world, with such beautiful baubles … maintain the illusion that we are going somewhere, towards the land of milk and honey, where nobody dies and we all stay young forever, shining bright and new in our plastic sheen and electric glow!

Keep moving forwards, driver, don’t slow down for those disturbing images of the badlands, where the people are dirty with industrial filth and the land is lain waste! The dream is before us, ever calling like a Siren from across the horizon; it’s calling my name, I know it is …

It’s kind of ironic, isn’t it, that we purposely made so much stuff with a short term lifespan and the most significant result of this attitude is that we have made more certain that life has once again become nasty, brutish and short for so many people, creatures and biodiverse places? That planned obsolescence has caught us up in its trap, as we co-create a new world with the same degree of wisdom as we utilised in the rush towards industrialisation. Upgrade now! I just did.


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