Eating Apples and Blackberries

by Noc Team on June 15, 2010

Contributed by Saadia Gardezi

As I navigated my way to my table though a crowd of teens dressed in grab that I speculated had shrunk after a wash, I reached my table to wait for my friends who had told me to be on time, but themselves would be late (how gullible was I to have been punctual!) As I waited at this swanky restaurant for the next forty minutes or so, I wrote this in my head since I didn’t own a Blackberry or a smartphone. My phone which sported ancient technology from 2006, caught me gazing longingly at the iPhone of a pre-teen celebrating her birthday and looked apologetically at me.

Somehow I only think of buying a new phone when I am eating with friends. Someone answers a call, someone smiles at a message received on their BBM service, someone shows off a new iPhone application… it is quite delicious. Thus I have started associating gadgets with food.

The iPhone is a thin crust pizza, with four cheeses and a drizzle of oregano. The Blackberry bold, Is a slice of chocolate fudge cake with ice-cream. The Samsung Corby is a big cup of coffee. And my old Sony Ericsson set is daal with chawal.

You really think I’m kidding don’t you?

Here’s a thought: Society is built on objects we associate ourselves with. The presence of technology in society refers to cyclical interdependence between people and objects. It is a synergic relationship that had evolved since the beginning of time when man invented simple tools to survive, i.e. to clothe, shelter and of course, feed itself. In fact there are a variety of theories that address the issue of technology, and are associated with the discipline of science and technology studies, communication studies, sociology and anthropology. Generally, these theories explain the relations between technology and society; including issues of agency and autonomy of one from the other.

For example, according to Actor-Network theory, technology is made by humans. It substitutes for the actions of humans, and shapes human action. What is important is the chain and direction of our actions and competences, and the degree to which we choose to have technology representing our actions. Critical theory on the other hand looks at the association between design and value. It looks at the relationship between values and technological standards like speed, efficiency and reliability. Further ideas that are how values like democracy, social justice, privacy etc., become integral to conception, design and development of applied technology.

So making the jump from technology to food is not that farfetched. Every time, you see someone with iPad, surfing the web while enjoying their morning coffee, there are giant concepts looking over his shoulder. These are concepts of social progress, value in design, evolution, aesthetics and taste, and social status, which are crowding around him, smelling the delicious coffee and congratulating themselves for how far man has come from living in caves chipping flint to make tools.

Society in the main cities of Lahore has evolved into quite a hungry and tech-savvy society. Business lunches at popular restaurants, teenagers owning expensive gadgets and the spreading of event invitations though email or cell phones is quite common. Technology today may not be about physical survival of the species as it was for our hairy ancestors, but is definitely a necessity for social survival. Not only is it an increasingly important tool for communication, but its fun to show off to your friends.

Writing this essay has made me quite hungry! I think I might just buy a blackberry.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Osama Rao June 16, 2010 at 10:34 AM

of the four food items you made an analogy with daal cahwal is the most tempting. That must mean i should thorq away my blackberry cuz i am obviously a sony ericsson guy. ;)

Mudassar June 16, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Finally some good read at CodeWeek

Haider June 24, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Itna mazay ka article kisi nay sahi say parah he nahi
You should write about money instead!

Paris Hagley December 9, 2010 at 12:39 PM

Good post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you guys have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thank you :)

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