Thursday, October 24, 2013

Human Technology? Bah!

Technology has given mankind a better quality of life, no question. But how good is it? Let's look at a few examples:

TV Signals: New Zealand has been switching to digital signals, meaning we have to buy decoder boxes to get programmes. The old analogue system worked fine but digital is a better signal. Just don't have any problems. Recently a channel just pulled itself from our area, and I lost all channels trying to fix it. Despite some knowledge of such things, I had to get help to get my TV back.

Cellphones, etc: I was reading about some of the metals that go into the likes of cellphones and most other appliances. It seems they contain products dangerous to the workers extracting them, and hard on the environment when disposed of. The cost to the planet means human technology has a finite future. Clever indeed.

Technical services: Google is a monster of a company, which is making record profits. Scary if they are the best, as you wonder about the competence of the rest. My Google Search engine, gmail and Blogger all worked OK...until recently. The services were enhanced so I am to get an 'improved' experience with Google.

Some Google searches such as to their product forum are impossible to execute now. Some of Google's YouTube videos wouldn't load (seems better now), some gmail actions are so slow I give up. Blogger only accepts text only - although that is starting to go bad too. This article is currently not saving, pictures above 10kb are near impossible to upload (no, really, kb isn't a typo). Pictures have now stopped completely. Operating in Blogger behind the scenes leads to having to exit and re-enter my browser get things happening. I don't know what to do. The upgrades it seems are to increase revenue, not user service. Is Google now too big to care?

Summary: So what does this say about human technology? As it gets more complicated, it gets more confusing for the layman. It is more likely to fail as it is often released in too much of a hurry to sort all the bugs. It is ruining the earth, but hey, another generation will have to deal with that... hopefully.

If technology's pace of change was slowed, that would be a good start. Keep it as simple as possible to improve reliability and customer understanding of it. Minimise the greed factor that causes this rush to 'improve' the customer experience (or in reality make more money). Compare our technical advances by what we see in nature, and humans look very clumsy. And greed always comes back to bite you eventually.

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