RealTime is a phrase used by the technological industry to describe applications, gaming, computing etc. happening in the here and now. Computer programmes can provide us with data or make calculations with startling speed that reflect the environment/time when the query was made. In gaming we no longer have to wait for our turn, we get to play alongside our fellow gamers. The literal wording reveals the progress we have made with electronics. We no longer have to wait for anything. We’re living in an age of immediacy. I blame this for the growing societal impatience whenever we’re forced to wait whether in a queue in a shop or waiting for a programme or a TV show to start. We’ve all become toddlers ready to stamp our feet if we don’t get what we want, when we want it.
Time is of the essence for many of us who run around consistently all day. We simply don’t have time to wait anymore. We jump on any moments, however small, we are kept waiting as time wasted. We need to function in realtime and require the technology we use on a daily basis to do the same. I can’t help but think there is a certain amount of irony here. Whilst we use our realtime applications to our benefit we are actually distancing ourselves from ‘real time’. We’re spending so much time behind a laptop or computer screen, on our phones and iPads, staring at a TV, reading from a tablet, that we’re not fully engaged with reality. We’re missing what’s going on around us because many of us can’t be drawn away from our screens. Mostly we are familiar with the perils of too much screen time. It has a negative impact on eyesight, posture etc. etc. It becomes a barrier in our lives. I often see people constantly walking around with phones in their hands. I’m not sure I’d recognize them without one. I have to remind myself to do non-screen related activities. In a recent blackout many of us were stumped about what to do without electricity; without technology. We need to take a step back in life, whilst we might be using realtime technology we’re not living in real time.