This is a bit of a rambling post, up front warning
I think an unspoken question behind the whole simpler life quips is whether or not instant gratification is wrong and I sometimes ask myself that too. There is no point in my day to day life where I am prevented from finding out about something I want to know for more than the few seconds it takes me to search on my phone. That could mean looking at Google or using the other technologies at my disposal such as my calendar, mail or somewhere else online.
With that though comes the incredibly quick speed with which we fall into frustration when we do not have that functionality. I couldn't use my phone earlier today and when I went to search for something I remembered and I was pretty frustrated. I have only been living with this level of access for a couple of years, but I have so quickly gotten use to it and feel its loss so easily. It's easy to see that and wonder how much good can technology be doing us when we're acting like Gollum without it?
Personally, while I can somewhat be torn about it - I still think we're better off than we were before, despite what this video laments about:
I remember how goddamn bored I use to be at parties or other social functions I was forced to attend without my phone at it made the experience painful. Now? Don't particularly give a shit. I'll do what I want on my phone and will go through the experience relatively unharmed. Also, unlike those people on those videos; I was never really much of a photo person. I do not understand the whole Instagram thing at all, I suspect I never will.
I am a very curious person and the internet makes me thrive as an individual. All I ever do during my free time is be on the internet. I'm not just looking at cats, or watching funny videos - I am reading. I read for hours at a time. I read about things I want to know more about. Sometimes through blogs of people who're traveling or working in another country so I can get insight into things. Sometimes it's about technology or scientific advancements. Other times it's about politics. Yet, for years now for every day since I was about 15 or so I am on the internet reading.
People often remark at how much I know on so many topics and the internet is the reason for that. So while the above comic joked about life before google, for me it's a serious reality that I remember all too well. When you're poor and you have to catch a bus and a train to the nearest decent library - you appreciate being able to find out something in a matter of seconds about dozens of topics when you use to have to spend 3 hours in a round trip to be able to find out about a couple of topics. I certainly don't miss those days, that's for sure.