1. Corporate coffee chains.
In 1976 we simply had cafes, selling Nescafe, builders tea and bacon sarnies. Ladies went to cake shops. They were all independent. We'd sit there, drink tea and chat. Now people "grab a coffee and dash". The conversation is restrited to "Skinny Latte with bits of gunge on". "Please" has become a luxury.
2. Reality TV shows.
Reality TV shows feature ordinary members of the public doing very little. We used to watch TV programs that were stimulating and we'd chat about. With series like Big Brother, so little happens, that the vocabulary required to discuss it shrinks by the week.
3. Mobile Phone networks.
Telephones were not even in everyones homes in 1976. Parents would put phone locks on to stop teenagers running up large bills. Now everyone has a mobile phone. Rather oddly, people spend less time talking to each other on mobile phones than they did when we had the old dial a phone in the front room. Now it is texts, Facebook and Instagram
4. Microwave ovens.
The Microwave oven is perhaps the most regressive invention ever in the social history of the world. Now we don't eat together. Ready meals are popped in the oven and the teenagers retreat to play with their mobile phones. You can go months without talking to your teenagers.
5. Contactless Payment cards.
Yet another invention designed to stop us talking to each other. It is now possible to buy all your shopping with no human interaction at all. In the "Anarchy" days, a converstaion with the shop keeper was necessary to procure goods. I wonder if the next generation might loose the power of speech altogether.
It used to be that if you needed a passport, needed to pay a bill or book a holiday, you had to talk to someone. Now you "go on the web". No need to talk to anyone.
7. On Line dating sites.
Before the rise of the internet, if you wanted romance, you had to meet someone, shmooze them and if you were lucky they'd give you a date. Now you simply go on line. You can be in a restaurant, hotel or even a car park without even having spoken to them.
8. Call Centres.
Many people now work in call centres. People answer the phone, but they have set scripts to read. They spend all day on the phone, yet the part of their brain that is engaged in constructing conversations is totally disengaged. An Ex of mine worked for "Teledata" in Colindale for a while. That was one of the UK's first call centres. One evening we were in the pub and she said "Shut up, I've spent all day talking". I didn't realise it, but the writing was on the wall!
9. VAR for Football.
At the moment, it doesn't work. It will. Once they get the technology right, there will be no debates about dodgy penalties and so nothing to discuss in the pub after.
10. KISS FM
I have to endure KISS FM most days when I go to the Gym. There are a group of young lads, who can't work out without KISS FM blaring at ear splitting volume. As a result, it is impossible to talk to anyone. Recently, I've noticed that even in restaurants the music is jacked up so you can't her anything. I asked a waitress at one to turn it down a bit and she looked affronted. I realised that music was turned up by the staff, with no regard to the customers. That wouldn't be so bad, but I don't think anyone actually listens to the music. It is just there to stop us talking.