(This column appears in the December 05 issue of PC Advisor)
Bad news for those who like their peace and quiet: the babble of communication is about to get worse. Not only will there soon be no respite from mobile phones as airlines such as Air Portugal and BMI trial their in-flight use, but other technology firms are also plotting to make us reachable regardless of where we are. I was aghast to hear Intel's recent prediction that in-flight Wi-Fi is likely to be ubiquitous in two or three years' time.
For business travellers, the ability to contact the mothership during downtime may be a boon. But as far as I can tell, the ability to communicate constantly simply increases the density of phone calls and the frequency of expletives. It may seem useful to be able to locate and exchange information, but on a transatlantic flight, how much can you actually help in an office or domestic crisis?
What all this really means is yet more pressure on us poor workers, who have precious little time to ourselves as it is.
Mobile phones are a mixed blessing; adding other forms of electronic communication to the mix and making us constantly contactable is sure to lead to more misery. Business travel is tiring enough without making us deal with email, voicemails and other tasks in transit.
And it's not just the travellers that will suffer. If an impotent travelling businessman is approaching a nervous breakdown after receiving via email some terrible news he can do nothing about, imagine the effect his increasingly fraught phone calls are going to have on you, his colleague or friend.
We managed to get by in the past. Are we to be viewed as failures if we don't capitalise on this brave new world of communication? And what would our doctors say about all the anxiety this is causing us?
It's enough to make me want to jet off to some far-flung, Wi-Fi-free destination while I still can. Or fly me to the moon - at least in space no one can hear me scream.