Me a Luddite? I’m not quite so sure

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ONE thing I get called more than much else is a Luddite.

From what I understand, this doesn’t mean I’m easily mistaken for a 19th century textile worker who spends his evenings smashing industrial looms; it just means I don’t have a mobile phone that looks like it could remotely land a spacecraft.

Perhaps this makes me not unlike my nana who, when introduced to the paradigm-shifting concept of DVDs (“a film? On CD?”), noted, rather poetically, “the modern world is a lovely place - but I’m glad I don’t live there”.

The way she figured it, she’d gone 80 odd years without the need for seeing Indiana Jones on Blu-ray, and another couple more would do no harm. It was an admirable attitude - although an optimistic one as it turned out. She shuffled off the coil some 18 months later.

In any case, I have always protested against accusations of Luddism, arguing not owning a Kindle does not mean you’re trapped in some mythical past, it just means you’ve not bought into the mythical present. And yet this week, I found myself thinking, well, maybe I am a Luddite after all.

Because this was the week it was revealed the future was internet banking and that by 2015 branch accounts would be being phased out. And this was also the week - just a day before I read this - I walked into my own bank and demanded, contrary to such predictions, my online account be shut down and I be restored to branch-only access. And when shell-shocked staff asked why I offered just a single modern world word; a word which, infuriatingly, I can never remember.

Passwords, eh?

They are truly the evil of the age. I despise them with a passion I normally reserve for goat’s cheese, pigeons and Adrian Chiles. They are my torment and nemesis; a thing which I can live neither with nor without; Joker to my Batman; Moriarty to my Holmes; the spinning loom to my King Ludd. I would smash them all if it were possible. Instead, they proliferate mercilessly.

Logging on to a work computer? Password. Logging online? Password. Hotmail? Password. Tax returns? Password. Student loan? Password. Paypal? Password. Phone contract? Password. Amazon? Password. Insurance? Password. Ebay? Password.

I’m not an unintelligent man. I get security. I lock my windows and doors. But how can one remember so many passwords for so many things? Are we not but human?

And the annoying thing? You can’t duplicate because that’s blatantly going to end in tears when some cretin steals your identity and you realise he’s not only swiped all your savings, he’s also logged onto your Fantasy Football team and transferred van Persie for Chamakh.

You can’t write them down either because (a) kind of defeats the point and (b) that introduces the whole new problem of having to remember where the reminder is.

So, what’s the solution? Stop moaning and start remembering? Or how about this? In one of those curious coincidences, just a day I had handed in my online bank notice, I read about some new advancement several websites, including Hotmail, are thinking of introducing. It would allow users to have their faces scanned by webcam as an alternative to typing in a password.

Now, that would be my kind of technology. Bring on the future. Maybe I’m not a Luddite after all.