22nd February 2023

I was trying to sort out part of my family tree and was struck by the changes in the lifetime of my great great grandmother Elizabeth (1837 -1923). Her home was ‘two up, two down’ with none of what we would call utilities. She saw the first trains to come to Halifax, the coming of bicycles and cars. She saw gas lighting and gas cooking, then electricity. At the end of her life, she lived with a son who had a car and a telephone. She may even have just heard BBC radio! Huge changes in lifestyle.

What about my lifetime? I learned to program a computer as a student, I worked on EDSAC2, a valve machine which took up a whole room and had hundreds of flashing lights. (EDSAC1 is in the Science Museum.) My mobile phone, never mind my computer, has at least a million times more storage space.

At Tyntesfield House there are shelves full of encyclopaedias, dictionaries and trade directories. No need for these now, is there? Just key into your phone and get all the information you want. (Whether it is true/correct is another matter.)

God gave us brains and imagination and hence the ability to invent all kinds of things, some clearly good for humanity, some bad and quite a lot which can be used for good and bad.

Sometimes it is hard to be sure which is which. What looked good turns out to have uses which are bad for the world. Plastic? Nuclear energy?

Is the computer and internet revolution of God or not?

Margaret Clements