Technology and our expectations

Instagram provides filters and tidy borders that make his photos look much richer and warmer and better than they really are.

Call of Duty provides prediction code and auto-aim that makes her aim and positioning better than they really are.

Karaoke bars provide clever stuff that makes my rendition of Eye of the Tiger less awful than it really is (and even then it’s still shockingly bad) 🙂

Spellcheck – for the most part – lessens the awfulness of people’s spelling.

As technology seeps into every facet of our lives, what will these enhanced abilities and invisible helping hands do to our expectations of how good we are at stuff really?

As a parent I see the resilience and fragility that come with learning, with trying, the tears, the ‘I’m rubbish’. It seems healthy, good.

So what it will be like to *not* know you’re rubbish? To cruise around propped up, prompted, auto-corrected – all wrinkles smoothed out.

Will there be clanging moments where lords and ladies of technology suddenly reenter the physical world and find they can’t fix the tap, mow the lawn, cook a meal, drive the basic car?

Will there be different classes of people, new strata in society – those that tech, those that fetch and fix? Will it be symbiotic or will one class of people dominate and bully the other?

4 comments

  1. ade

    That’s where sports come in – and getting kids playing them from an early age.

    I’m starting to run, and ohmygod there’s no hiding my utter lack of ability when it’s just me and the footpath. There’s no hiding that the only way I’m going to get to a happy place with running is by doing it again and again until it stops hurting.

    As a parent, I feel strongly that I should introduce my kids to that kind of physical experience before they get into video games and more virtual environments. Ditto helping us make things, fix things or cook food we’re all about to eat.

    We have a duty to connect our progeny to their lives’ supply chains.

  2. Andrew McCluskey

    …clearly you haven’t been parenting in America where every child already has god given gifts, is a talent, and a genius with expectations built so high the only response to reality is denial.

    The result in many fields – particularly the arts – is mediocrity.

    I like your idea of the tech analogy and think it makes sense. If we follow the same pattern it means that we’re in for one hell of a creative slump.

    Still – there will be citizens who were spared technology’s false promise and survived their parent’s weak vicarious practices. I suspect that they’ll end up building generation ships and getting out of here – hopefully they’ll still want grandparents around for babysitting – see you up there…

  3. Ed

    “Real programmers use Notepad.”

    “Auto-focus takes the skill out of photography.”

    “Isn’t it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur?” http://bit.ly/qLHdHP

    The question should be “So what it will be like to *not* know you’re rubbish _at something no one cares about any more_?” We are rubbish at all sorts of things important to previous generations. But thankfully technology has taken away our need to learn or perform these tasks.

    I’m proabably a terrible hunter-gatherer but I don’t care because I can go to McDonalds 🙂

    There’s also a dualism here that probably creates the problems being presented in the blog post. The phrase “photos look much … better than they really are” suggests that there is a “real” photo that is somehow different than the one we can see. This is nonsense. Get rid of this false concept of ‘real’ and ‘observed’ and we will left only with the positive effects of technologies critised rather than longing for a romantic idea of the real (which, anyway, is usual just means “When I was a lad…”).

    • will mcinnes

      I love all of these responses. Fantastically thought provoking. Thank you. I am happily mulling 🙂

      Ed – I like your viewpoint, but the thing that does trouble me is a kind of blind reliance on technology which then leaves us vulnerable. It’s more of a survivalist’s perspective, I guess, but my fear is in losing the precision and control over time and eventually becoming emasculated and powerless. Feeble jelly legged technology pilots that lack all physical ability….

      Thanks.

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