Found time

Technology is, by and large, a story of convenience. Of making interactions that that previously took days and hours, take minutes and seconds.

Consider how long it used to take you to book a holiday. To order (and then wait for) a taxi. Think about your weekly food shop, or learning how to fix your toilet.

All of these tasks are substantially faster than they once were. In fact, in every area of human life, time has been freed up by making some mundane process faster.

It’s a shame then, that the new ways to spend all this found time almost always include looking at a screen. Feeds of content that never end, seemingly unlimited amounts of video, massively multiplayer video games that load in seconds.

Technology’s greatest gift isn’t the byproduct of some clever engineering – it’s the time the application of it frees up. The more time we find, the more we can use it to do positive things with the relatively small amount we have alive.

To do this we need a competing vision of how we spend the new time we have. A technological vision where the answer isn’t to look at a screen, but one that encourages us to create meaningful connections, engage with our communities and learn news skills.

Found time should unlock huge amounts of potential, but if we don’t put it to good use, we might as well be making trips to the travel agent.

Daniel Bower

Blogging about platform regulation: algorithms, interoperability, kill zones as well as other bits and bobs. Read about my research, or read more about me.