|Bad News, Mass Stupefaction of Content. Good News, More Efficiencies.|
By Yeoh Siew Hoon
Sunday, 5th August 2012
'Do you mind? I just have to respond to this,' said Richard Quest as I prepared to sit down and ask him my first question.
So I waited. It’s not an unusual occurrence these days – for face-to-face meetings to be interrupted by phone calls and instant messages. It seems to be the thing to do. At lunch with a girlfriend today, her phone rang at least four times and it’s a strange feeling, eavesdropping on other people’s conversations in front of them.
“Sorry,” said Quest as he put down his iPhone next to his Blackberry.
“Can you live without your devices?” I asked the television personality behind Quest Means Business and CNN Business Traveller Show.
“No. I could live with just one though,” he said, recalling a week when the o2 network was down for 36 hours in the UK and he survived, he declared proudly.
As a traveller, he embraces all the technology that’s enabled him to become more efficient and effective on the road and in business.
“You know what I did the other day in London? I knew exactly where I was in the building and where I was going but because I could, I used my smartphone to tell me the quickest way to get there,” he said.
“I am also proud of myself and how I can manage the iPhone and use it to its full potential (well nearly) as well as a 25-year-old can. I am also proud of how I can use the iPad more effectively and efficiently than any young person who is usually playing games on it.
“The days when my late father would be looking over his glasses and fiddling with the video remote control – you know the old joke, there’s a 50-year-old in the house when the clock is flashing away – well, I am damned if I am going to give up technology and go that way.”
But even as he embraces it, he is aware of the dangers of becoming too dependent on technology. “The danger is if too much travel is vicarious through technology, and the spirit of adventure is lost.”
The other danger is what he calls “the mass stupefaction of content” on the web. “The level of mediocrity of content is phenomenal – badly written, poorly researched articles and poor websites.”
Some though are brilliant. He likes TripAdvisor because he says it “gives a real feeling of the hotel”. He uses Kayak to search for prices and Expedia to book.