The Future Is Fast

The technologies we use, the lives we lead and everything we do is getting faster. But why is this the case and what effect is it having on our lives?

Moving fast

Technology has always increased the pace of life as it brings new inventions and ways of doing things. But the time we save never leads to a slower or more relaxed life style. The ability to move fast is associated with success and a bias towards speed allows us to think fast, shop fast and get whatever we want faster than ever before. And with the ability to move rapidly comes an addiction to speed whether or not it is good for us. Such habits are not new, as people have always chosen quick solutions to satisfy their natural desire for the novel. Businesses that offer the latest technologies invariably win over those that trail behind.

Concerns about the effects of technology are commonplace, as research shows the internet and social media are rewiring our brains and shortening attention spans. But the shift to quicker technologies and a faster life is relentless, as impatience and frustration dictate the choices we make. Over the centuries the pace of life has changed too, as people’s lives shifted from the countryside and agriculture to cities and factories. And the number of people exposed to the stress of a too busy life will continue to increase in the years ahead.

From an everyday health perspective, stress related complaints from living faster lives are already evident with a shift from the traditional physical sore back to a rise in mental health issues from increased anxiety and worry. A growth in this type of stress is becoming particular common amongst children and young people, as lives are lived at a frantic pace.

Moving faster

Living today of course means always being connected, which like any habit is difficult to break. Rising levels of frustration are triggered by any delay in getting what we want, as the internet promises instant solutions. Speed is evident in the business world too, as traditional companies disappear at greater rates than in the past. The shift of emphasis from people to technology in all areas of industry is creating the need to learn new skills to stay relevant. And as a result people’s lives are upended as they struggle to keep up with the level of change and disruption in the economy.

The rate of upheaval however is not going to slow and much more likely to speed up as new technologies spread. From the increasingly powerful smartphone in our pocket to the influence of the internet life will only get faster.

So, the reality of living in a fast-paced world means we have to figure out not how to slow down but how to succeed in a landscape that gets faster every day.