Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why isn't technology really making our life easier

So, the theory goes like this. Technological advancements have provided us with the tools to achieve much more than a human has ever been able to throughout the history. Vehicles transport us over long distances very fast, digital networks allow sending and receiving information even faster, computers extend our ability to remember and process data in volumes previously unimaginable. All in all, we get our job done faster, easier and in every other respect more efficiently, leaving a lot of time for the family, fine arts, or anything else one might enjoy.

So why is it the case that we actually have less time, more work and need antidepressants to fight burning out? The answer is paradoxical -- the same need for efficiency that motivates us to produce all these tools also prevents us from using the freedom obtained by using them. Oh, you got your work done thanks to our brand new software package? Cool, there's some more! You did not have to fly overseas and were able have your business meeting over Skype? Excellent, let's schedule 10 Skype meetings for tomorrow. You bought a faster car? Nice, then you can get to the office 15 minutes earlier and write one more report.

Hence I ask all the technology salesmen -- please do not advertise your product as something that makes anyone's life easier. It does not.

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