Human knowledge, what we know, is based on fundamental, basic knowledge and understanding. We have to understand those basic symbols and their relationships before we can apply them in complex equations.
We have to understand letters, words, sentences and punctuation before we can combine those symbols into paragraphs, books, and manuals. The technology of today has been built upon the existing technology of yesterday; and it has always been this way.
There were the Luddites, who from around 1811 to 1816 in England, attempted to keep technology at bay because the new factories and new technology were taking away the jobs from the workers and away from the small workshops that previously made things that the new factories were making. The small workshops had become obsolete, and the workers were very upset about losing their jobs, upset enough to resort to violence.
For some people, growing older can be a technological struggle. Depending on your perspective, the ugly or the beautiful fact of the matter is that humanity is, more and more, all over the world, becoming far more dependent upon technology. I am not saying that technology will eventually destroy us; I’m saying it has already begun.
The first place to begin is attack the culture. Denigrate the labors of those who have passed before. That antique end table with all of the inlaid carving needs to be thrown out because IKEA has much more “modern” looking furniture.
The crockery your mother treasured and treated as gently as a newborn kitten won’t get you twenty dollars at an online sale. The prized sterling silverware and the high-maintenance silver teapot and coffee urn are worth more as scrap.
Remember that it takes a lot of silver to make an iPhone, and while a silver teapot might be an attractive accessory, an iPhone is essential to human life, especially if that life is under the age of twenty. (Or so they have ascertained.)
It isn’t that I resent the new technology; I just don’t see any reason for adopting it for the sake of it being new. Year after year, I learned newer and newer software, and paid dearly (in both time and money) for it. It didn’t get me far. More and more of my life is “have you heard of…” and the sage advice of “influencers” who are crowding into a popular online media website, who are getting paid to endorse the products that they are recommending.
Commercials? Who needs commercials? I’ve got an “influencer” and I can trust my “influencer” to tell me whatever the people who are paying them want me to know, and spend my money on whatever it is they are getting paid to promote.
Ah, the freedom of the internet. The snake-oil salesmen of yesteryear have retrogressed into highly-paid pitchmen whose millions of followers would make Dale Carnegie look like an annoying carnival barker. (I proudly admit that I do not know of even a single “influencer” even after watching YouTube for a decade, at minimum.)
Technology left the law far behind some time ago. The lawmakers of the U.S. are far too dependent upon the campaign contributions of Big Data…”
To quote Frank Zappa: “Your mind is totally controlled, it has been stuck into my mold, and you will do as you are told, until the rights to you are sold.”
In prior times, the only feedback television or radio commercials had were sales numbers reported by retailers. Present-day internet responses are almost instant, as well as voluntarily donated demographics as to age, gender, persuasion, location, marital status, and all other kinds of specific information. If people are willing to give away information so that the entire marketing system is revised, and only several players are holding almost all of the cards in terms of advertising, I will not challenge their right to do so. Who ever thought that those Madison Avenue geniuses would succumb to a bunch of circuits and algorithms?
What has become disturbing to me are the changes that keep emerging and the constant revising of software. It isn’t that I dislike change, it is the fact that so many of these firms just constantly badger you for more money. Not that it has any influence on me, but Facebook has changed their privacy policies at least three times now, and every time it was less and less privacy for its users.
Everything is getting better, or, so they say, and they certainly want more money for the improvements. When I first got on the internet, it was slow, but it had things that had never existed before.
A website called eBay soon followed. eBay was a website where people sold things like old motorcycles. Instead of looking at your local flea market, eBay had everyone on the internet (which, while a lot, weren’t near as many as at present time) looking at your merchandise for sale.
At that time of internet infancy, if you won in the bidding on eBay, you paid your internet seller any way that they would agree to be paid (I usually used money orders). Then came PayPal, and while convenient, is subject to abuse. I have witnessed such abuse personally.
There is the management quote “change for the sake of change,” but this is change for the sake of more money. Greed is a powerful motivator.
There is the management quote “change for the sake of change,” but this is change for the sake of more money. Greed is a powerful motivator. Never underestimate it. Younger people shun older things along with older people and this form of discrimination is difficult to prosecute. Speaking of difficult to prosecute, the internet and the information it uses have far exceeded any laws that the U.S. lawmakers can make. Technology left the law far behind some time ago.
On May 25, 2018, Europe enacted a law that allows citizens to review their internet information and delete information that they do not wish to share. The internet firms such as Google and Facebook howled that the European lawmakers were being unfair, but they were just allowing citizens to delete information they didn’t want shared with anyone. The lawmakers of the U.S. are far too dependent upon the campaign contributions of Big Data to pass any private information laws like Europe enacted.
The “new-tech” ideas aren’t always successful. Among the failures are Microsoft’s TAY, Google Glasses, Google Stadia, Quibbi, and these are only a few of many. Quibbi, if you never heard of it, started in April of 2020 and was gone by December 2020.
Quibbi was started by two very respected business leaders, but the idea turned out to be bomb. Don’t feel too bad for the failed products, as they were ventures financed by firms and individuals who will write off more in one year than you will earn in a lifetime. It’s new, it’s better, it’s great. Um, like new Coke? Have you seen New Coke on the store shelves lately?
One of my favorite new high-tech failures was Knight Capital. The new algorithm trading software had a major failure in August 1, 2012, causing Knight Capital to have a pre-tax loss of $440 million. Knight’s software failure initiated 4 million trades of 154 stocks for more than 397 million shares in approximately 45 minutes. Knight, as I understand it, sheepishly asked the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulatory agency that oversees stock and equity trading) to let them have their money back. The SEC, rightfully told them “no.”
Obsession with new things to the disparagement of older, established working products and principles has landed some of the “innovators” at a dead end. Many people want to be the “early adopters” of today, but, as a former early adopter, all I can say is that while you might get a front row seat, the show might not be very entertaining, and like all shows, it will have an ending. By all means, use new technology as a filter for choosing employees, and gloat about your being on the cutting edge.
That’s why they call it software; it isn’t carved in stone.
Jeffrey Neil Jackson is an
Educator & Literary Mercenary