What do we Give Up for a Digital Life?

The Chess Men of Chinatown.
Just the other day, I walked pass a number of elderly gentlemen playing a game of Chinese chess on a nice sunny afternoon.
One of the players was discussing with his opponent the range of possible moves he could take. Some of the spectators were watching intently, others were giving suggestions and advice.
I starting thinking: I wouldn’t mind spending an afternoon in my retirement playing a few rounds of chess over a cold beer?
Not surprisingly, the designer in me started speculating how the life would be like when I retire 20 years in the future. Would we be playing chess on tablet computers or even better in the comfort of our own home over the internet? This is not much of a leap as today you could already play with thousands of people over the internet on sites such as Yahoo games.
But would it really be the same experience?
I realize that the men were there not to improve their chess skills but to socialize and chat. It is the socializing, not gaming, that was the priority. Games such as chess (or even checkers/draughts in some parts), poker, or even board games, have become ice breakers or facilitators of conversations.
Could our digital what-nots give us the same experience as such outdoor chess games, or even an evening of Poker?
I doubt so.
This realization somehow gives me comfort, humans still have some basic needs which, thankfully, a digital life can never replicate.

  • Mo Brackett

    December 6, 2016 at 8:04 am Reply

    I feel we give up contact with people. The world is already moving so fast we lose touch with our friend and family. Face book and text messaging seem to take over all of those.; Also to you really know how someone is it is hard to tell in the written messages it is good to hear a voice of recognition.
    With the internet yes we have stories about the world and our local things going on but, miss so much by not getting out and actually living.

  • Paul Mckay

    August 11, 2011 at 5:36 pm Reply

    @Brian: Exactly, having a pint in your hand always causes creativity and conversation to flow. How many brilliant ideas do you think have come about due to meeting in the local?, the ability to become passionate over an idea, exciting you enough that you just want to grab a notepad and jot all the ideas down for future reference. If digital media really takes over, could we really see a decline in creative ideas and forget how to socialise? I think so. What comes into my mind is the film ‘Surrogates’ starring Bruce Willis.

  • DK

    August 5, 2011 at 9:05 pm Reply

    What if you can play chess on computer while having a group Skype? 🙂
    Ok, I know the experience won’t be the same. But you can have someone from the other side of earth joining in. You gain some, you lose some.

    • Brian

      August 11, 2011 at 10:09 am Reply

      @DK: Thanks for your reply, I agree about making the world smaller. But it is really important to play with someone from across the world? It would be important to me if it was about being the best in the world, but I think these guys just want to socialize and not about being the best.

  • Alex

    August 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm Reply

    This is the main reason why pubs all over the UK are closing down daily. It’s sad, but what can you do about it unless you admit that people don’t actually know what’s good for them..

  • Paul Mckay

    August 3, 2011 at 5:58 pm Reply

    However great the advance into digital technology may be, the fact we’re losing opportunities to socialise is a sad event. With the release of Facebook, Myspace, Gaming chat-rooms and more, it’s easier to stay in and talk to someone in the comfort of our home and stare at a screen all day than it is to get up and meet someone in person.
    I’m not against technology and as a web designer and a graduate in Interactive Design, I’m very much into the improvements of technology and how we can engage the user but nothing beats sitting with your friends and having a good laugh.

    • Brian

      August 11, 2011 at 10:11 am Reply

      @Paul: I agree with you and that is pretty much the point I was getting at as well. We are definitely giving up something for this digital world. Think about this conversation, would it be much cooler over a few beers. We will get @Alex to join too!

Post a Comment