As online technologies become more and more sophisticated, the tendency for us to believe that machines could perform on their own without human intervention becomes even stronger. This is an illusion because behind every new technology are people who invent and innovate — and eventually teach other people to make tech operable.
New technology is commonly found by ordinary people and its potential users as answers to challenges. Seldom would you investigate tech advancement on the grounds of its being capable of throwing questions back at you. In fact, it would sound unnatural and probably infantile to think of new technology being introduced — to take the initiative of asking you how you could make use of them. It would always be the potential user doing the questioning first before technology could provide answers.
The user experience is built around people asking the same questions over and over: How does it feel to be using such-and-such technology? So much so that the more sophisticated technology that its creators and inventors are capable of developing the more questions we begin to ask or learn to ask. Considering the average tech user nowadays to be possessed with tremendous amounts of self-entitlement, it would not surprise you to find about how much info would be necessary to satisfy such curiosity.
Digital automation and the illusion of flawless service
Technology has come to a point where it is now possible for anyone equipped with mobile devices to quickly access and achieve informational possession of data at such a rapid rate. Apps that could be installed in such extend the tech longevity and usability even more to a degree that people who use them enjoy their maximal benefits.
An online technology that is believed to thrive on continual access, real-time immediacy and interactive capability is also perceived to be something by its users as readily available technology that has the following characteristics:
- It is “always on”. Users generally believe that any technology that’s run online would always be readily available on a perpetual basis anytime and from anywhere. This fuels the desire for people to take the initiative to engage mobile device tech like smartphones and tablets (and the apps in them) every time they find the opportunity to do so, or while away time when there’s nothing else to do. While you might find it convenient to do so with your smartphone or tablet every time you find yourself idling away at the bus stop, train station or airport or even while in transit. However, once a WiFi connection vanishes at some point in the journey or your battery loses power somehow — you wouldn’t be able to be “always on”.
- It is capable of flawless service. Digital automation also encourages people to perceive that systems are self-run. That there is no amount of human intervention necessary for systems to perform optimally. So much so that it is not unusual to find people who perceive online phone systems to fail only when people mess around with systems or misuse them. It is the other way around, however. Systems fail when online tech breaks down or when it becomes necessary to upgrade or send them in for maintenance routine. Not all outages are caused by accidents, after all.
The above characteristics could also be wrongly perceived owing to the way tech “experts” describe them to the public.
No matter how interactive tech might be, it could only enable a one-way intelligence equation. It could teach you some things like any online tutorial would but the mastery of it is something humans could provide other humans. Tech with artificial intelligence to ask you all the right questions have yet to be developed. Until then, you would have to content yourself with Siri or Google or any other search engine out there.
[Recommended read: Technology – Are We Too Plugged in to it?]
[Image credit: Cathy, Flickr]