Back to the future not back to the drawing board


THIS week I have been amazed by an advancement in technology that wasn’t possible when I first entered the world in 1985.

At the end of last week I was invited to an exhumation in Fenny Stratford where officers were carefully removing a body from an unmarked grave in the hope that it could be linked to a missing person found in the River Ouse back in 1986.

In those days DNA testing was not an option. If a body was found then families of missing people were informed and they would have to come and have a look at the body to establish whether it was their loved one or not.

If not then people were identified by their dental records, a distinguishing mark on the body or an item of clothing or jewellery.

Nowadays the tiniest hair fibre, a droplet of saliva or a fingerprint can determine an identity. Along with that bones, teeth and hair can help determine the age and height a person would have been.

Now I find that incredible. That even with just the bottom half of a body we can determine how old they were, their height and a number of other factors.

Social networking sites have seen the emergence of instant communication and the ability for people to tweet or post things in a second, sometimes faster than the national news organisations can.

Years ago you would have to phone your reports through from a phonebox after the event. Nowadays we are able to tweet live from council meetings, football matches and pretty much any other event so that our readers can get the news as soon as it is happening.

And all of these changes are ones I have seen in my lifetime. We now have the power to control our PCs and laptops with one click of our phones and pay a bill within a second. That’s all we ever needed, a faster way for our money to be spent.

It was also revealed over the weekend how a single tweet helped to save some of the most historical and important papers in Milton Keynes in the Alan Turing papers.

The guide price was set between £300,000 and £500,000, a figure that was far too much for the members of Bletchley Park Trust to contemplate.

A simple yet desperate tweet was sent ‘If only the trust could afford to buy these for the museum and its visitors.’

Within days a supporter of Bletchley Park had come forward and helped to raise thousands in just 11 days.

Proof that Twitter is more than just people telling others what they just had for breakfast.

Who knows in the future where technology will take us? We have already seen the early stages of cloning and stem cell research and if films are to be believed we will soon be in hover cars.

No matter what I think some of the best advances may come outside of my lifetime but I hope I live to see the next technological advance.

I want to see Back to the Future not back to the drawing board.