Is there a word for that moment or age when you realise you can no longer keep up with technological advances?

As in: I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - I think I've hit 'that moment where technology has outpaced me'

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    – tchrist
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 1:04

14 Answers 14


Consider "future shock", which is defined by oxforddictionaries.com as

A state of distress or disorientation due to rapid social or technological change.

  • 1
    Less specific to technology, you might also say that pausing a YouTube video is your Waterloo. See merriam-webster.com/dictionary/waterloo Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 18:48
  • 1
    I can see how failing to pause a YouTube video could be the OP's Waterloo, but how could 'future shock' be applied to her example sentence?
    – Frank H.
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 19:29
  • 1
    I've upvoted but I think this answer could be even better with a mention of the source of the term which is (I think) the Alvin Toffler book from 1970 en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future_Shock.
    – k1eran
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 13:49

If humorous self-deprecation is acceptable, you may be able to call that moment your dinosaur moment.

I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - I think I've hit my dinosaur moment.


dinosaur NOUN
2 A person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

‘I still get invites but I feel like a dinosaur and a bit of a has-been now.’

‘She said: "I suppose at 30 I'm considered a bit of a dinosaur in the industry."’

Usage example of "dinosaur moment" in the current sense:

Dinosaur moment in The Southwest Times
The dinosaur moment is when you mention using a typewriter to a room full of twenty-somethings...

  • 2
    +1 Love it. I've never heard of a "dinosaur moment" before, but as I am familiar with that definition of "dinosaur" it was immediately obvious what was meant.
    – AndyT
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 15:27

I guess I'm just an old dog who can't learn new tricks.

  • This is an adaptation of very apt phrase or adage, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks". Given that the principle in the adage is universal, that is, it is true of all old dogs, the phrase "I'm just an old dog" carries the implication already; the remainder is redundant. Also, unfortunately, it's not a word, as the O.P. requested.
    – jaxter
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:51
  • Except that it is not true of all old dogs. The ones I've had were pretty good at learning new things.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 18:04

I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - I think I've lost my edge


to lose the qualities or skills that made you successful in the past

  • Or maybe 'I'm off the trailing edge.'
    – Icy
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 22:56
  • 2
    "Losing one's edge" has more to do with the atrophy or decay of capabilities in a recurring situation. A traumatic injury or loss can cause a person to approach a similar situation with more trepidation; they are less willing to take risks, and their concentration, accuracy, and/or discipline may lose focus as a result. This is a loss of a prior quality, not usually the failure to acquire a new one.
    – jaxter
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:03
  • 1
    I would argue that losing the ability to adapt to new technologies fits your definition.
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 0:24

I don't know if there's a word that precisely answers your question, but watershed is a word that generally describes a turning point:

watershed, noun

An event or period marking a turning point in a situation

but you couldn't use it without indicating what the watershed was. Using your example, you would have to say something like this:

I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - that was a watershed moment where I realised technology has outpaced me.

  • 1
    Bit harsh, whoever downvoted that :-(
    – Frank H.
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 19:04
  • Feels wrong - a watershed is similar to a "catchment area" and is the land area representing where rainfall will end up in one river or the next river over. They typically join along ridge lines, so I see your reasoning. Perhaps "cresting the ridge" ?
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 19:46
  • 1
    That was not my reasoning at all. Watershed has the geographical origins you mention, but it is also commonly used in the way I described. See here for further definitions: quora.com/…
    – Frank H.
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 19:52
  • 1
    Quite right, Frank, 'watershed' is used in that way. In the UK we have the 9 o'clock watershed before which material deemed unsuitable for children cannot be broadcast. So we have to wait for the swearing, violence and sex on television until after that time.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 9:09
  • 2
    A "Watershed" is a common metaphor for any turning point. For example, the Battle of Midway in the South Pacific during World War II was a watershed; before Midway, the Japanese never stopped advancing - after Midway, they never stopped retreating.
    – jaxter
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:00

superannuated can mean

Outdated or obsolete through age or new developments

Therefore you could say,

I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - I think I've become superannuated. And finally! I have always wanted to be super at something... ;)

  • Finally! A contemporary use for the word superannuated. I think the term suits the O.P.'s need well, although this is the first time I've seen it applied to an object that is capable of adapting to its environment. Well, proposed for it, anyway.
    – jaxter
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:19

Here's a paragraph from a sermon(!) given by James M. Pevehouse at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on September 13, 2015:

Being caught up short or not knowing or understanding what is happening is a position very few, if any, relish being in. It is difficult because we like being able to fall back on the practices and processes that have worked for us in the past. We like the comfort of the status quo [my emphasis ].

Sounds to me that you were "caught up short" in your ability to navigate the seas of technology.

  • "Caught up short" can be used for any situation where the subject is unprepared for developments. It can occur in a situation such as the OP's, but isn't limited to a problem caused by lack of skills. It can pertain to not having enough funds, being overtaken by events (being Trumped, for example), or just being too shocked by a surprise to react effectively.
    – jaxter
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 13:56
  • @jaxter: Agreed. Good points! Don Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 23:02

How about vieux jeu? According to Oxford, it literally means old game.

Check synonyms for antiquated, perhaps one fits the bill.

  • Being "vieux jeu" is more like being "old school". It's usually meant to highlight attachment to higher moral standards, doing stuff the old fashioned way. It by no means suggest the speaker is too old to work something out.
    – Sylver
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 13:36

"with it"

May be the closest to a one-word answer that you'll get.



  1. Up-to-date or fashionable: ‘a young, with-it film buyer’

  2. [usually with negative] Alert and comprehending:

‘I'm not really with it this morning’

  1. In addition; besides:

‘he seems a decent lad, and clever with it’


As in: I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - I think I've hit 'that moment where I'm just not "with it" anymore.

  • 1
    With-it suggests that the subject copes well in situations that are peculiar to a specific context, such as rap music, or riding motorcycles. This may or may not change with age. For example, a group of motorcycle Hell's Angels started and now run a successful goat cheese farm in Vermont. I suggest that you can stay with-it as long as you keep adapting. The O.P. refers not only to inevitable change, but also the moment of realization; the term with-it doesn't address these points; you need the whole phrase "I think I've hit... anymore", which clearly isn't a word.
    – jaxter
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 14:35

Technological obsolescence

After struggling and failing miserably to pause a YouTube video, I suddenly became aware of my technological obsolescence

Technological obsolescence usually refers to equipment which is still in working order but no longer adequate to perform modern tasks, like a cassette player (it might work perfectly, but cassettes aren't sold anymore).

The concept could be extended to a person with the same characteristics.

I don't think you will find a single word to indicate the moment you make that realization.


epiphany, noun

  1. a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

"A sudden moment of clarity, when understanding is crystal-clear and truth is undeniable"

Bruce had an epiphany, and realised that he was behind the times, and lacked relevancy in the technological realm. He was a dinosaur and the only remaining option was Management, and leave the tech to the younger generation.

Downside, this word doesn't relate to age or technology or any other part of the question.


Not a one-word but would the classic Roger Murtaugh phrase work...depending on context? :)

I just failed to work out how to pause a video on YouTube - I'm getting too old for this shit.

  • 1
    The slight variant "I'm getting old" is better, and in common usage. Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 21:24

Your imbrutement marks your passage into troglodytehood


verb (used with or without object), imbruted, imbruting.
1. to degrade or sink to the level of a brute.
Origin of imbrute 1625-16351625-35; im-1+ brute1
Related forms imbrutement, embrutement, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.

troglodytehood example -


  • The verb "imbrute" involves adopting brutish qualities (and presumably, losing the more sophisticated ones). The OP's experience doesn't imply brutishness. And "troglodyte" reflects being unacquainted with affairs of the world (not limited to technology - see dictionary.com/browse/troglodyte), and/or brutishness, usually as a result of seclusion. Neither is specific enough to technological incompetence, nor the experience of becoming aware of it. But very entertaining and useful words nonetheless, in these troubled times.
    – jaxter
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 17:29
  • I disagree with Barth's usage of "troglodytehood", as given in your citation. "Troglodytehood" is a nonce word from a non-credentialed source (his non-fiction writing), and it doesn't reflect the dictionary definition of the root word. He also misuses the term "avant-pop", which is self-contradictory. It comes from from the homonymous 1986 album by American jazz musician Lester Bowie (Avant Pop - Brass Fantasy), where pop tunes were scored for brass in jazz style, i.e. after, not before, the pop movement. His book is a blizzard of buzzwords he (self-admittedly) doesn't understand.
    – jaxter
    Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 17:38

My word for that is "tread-milled" (metaphoric inability to keep pace with the Machine, an ass-meets-floor moment, if you will) 'Progressitis' also fits...although I like to think of it as 'having reached one's "best before" date'

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