6.02.2005

technology...

in my humble opinion, should evolve out of a desire to make it easier to do something. It has, from my experience, grown out of sake of itself and has made life more complicated. I have long subscribed to the R. Buckminster Fuller theory that you should be able to do less with less, but technology has grown in the opposite direction; instead of advancing ability by making tasks easier, it has turned into the realm of the technocrats, if I might refer to H.G. Wells' term coined in his excellent "The Shape of Things to Come". Technology has spawned the separation of those who work it for it's own merits, from those who could benefit from it, but are handcuffed by it's complexity. There is no reason why computer technology has evolved into a complicated, dark and mysterious world of it's own, rather than a friendly, easy to use tool for the everyman. One should be able to create beautiful and functional web pages easily, instead of needing to know a dozen different forms of code. Personal computers should be interactive with their users on a personal and simple level, but they are complex and difficult machines that require constant re-education on the part of their owners just to keep them functional. Using and maintaining a personal computer should be no more difficult than turning the pages of a book, or working a door knob, but, alas, the creation of their technology is driven by the end result of the task, rather than by the ease of performing that task. Such it is with all things modern. Technology for it's own sake has caused it to run amok. Simple devices, such as toasters or coffee makers have become showcases for electronic gee-gawgary; simple on/off has gone away. If I want toast, all I need is a toaster I can turn on and maybe adjust the amount of time it functions, with a hope of guessing right and getting a piece of bread that is not charred beyond consumption, but instead I need to wade through settings dedicated to frozen breakfast confections, crepes and thick/medium/thin bagels, and what have you, until I've wasted so much time programing the damn thing that I'm past any desire to eat fucking toast, which usually turns out exactly the opposite of what I was looking for anyway. I don't need a TV that turns itself off when it thinks I've fallen asleep; if I'm going to fall asleep, I'll sleep through the endless parade of mid-night infomercials for more useless technological handjobs to make my life "easier", I don't need the TV to worry about me, I'll be fine. I've yet to encounter modern technology that I couldn't live without, except for maybe the flush toilet and scissors and an automobile. Keep it simple, oh, lords of technology. I can get by with less invention and would really like more innovation.
pearls before swine...

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