Forbes magazine published an article about High Tech / High touch at https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemckendrick/2021/12/29/high-techhigh-touc... and they never mentioned ham radio one time. Yet they do quote an author saying “As people’s skills, experiences, and, in some cases, humanity evolve in tune with new technologies, the technologies and their design will need to further adapt. And as they adapt, individual and collective capabilities and perspectives will further evolve.”
I'm not talking about FT8 exactly, which is probably the newest technology embraced by many hams worldwide. I suppose that the biggest thing that FT8 has done for the amateur community is teaching us how to set the clock on a PC, and how to post screen shots to Facebook. These are both useful skills, but the need for these skills is of limited value in the real world. Each of these 'skills' require a certain amount of knowledge and training to use a different high-tech infrastructure that was designed and built by someone else. And they certainly require the use of the Internet, also built, designed, and paid for by someone else.
FT8 does not let you practice how to say "hello" in a different language. Yet this simple thing is a de facto requirement of starting a conversation with another human. And human language is one thing that sets humans apart from all other forms of life.
The IARU is updating a band plan that takes these things into consideration. In it, they segregate human conversation from "Time Synchronized Modes". (see https://www.iaru-r1.org/2021/hf-band-plan-revised/ )
As governments worldwide are spending more time and resources on monitoring their citizens, and the citizens of other countries, it makes a lot of sense to organize these channels into those which will contain useful information, and those which are "ping data" such as tire pressure monitors and FT8 transmissions. One can see this by noticing how eagerly the Chinese government has allowed its people to use FT8 for international use, without limitation; for anything which contains actual data (or conversations) there are still very strict limitations for contacts, conversational content, and the amount of either.
Part 97 (USA, text) talks about "the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill" in the Basis and Purpose section. This is something that all hams understand, and hams have shown again and again that we enjoy this aspect of our hobby. DXpeditions, disaster assistance, reciprocal operation, and more examples abound as proof.
Please log in and add your comments on this thread if you like. Or start a conversation on any of the usual places (QRZ, FB, on the air, etc.) I'd love to see and hear what people think.