Technology: a reflection on this machine

A few weeks ago I returned to work within my universities’ largest library, were I work in IT Support. Over the summer they have done a lot of renovations, so much so, the same building looks completely new! But behind the exterior there are a lot of cables and a mass number of coloured screens: technology is used everywhere in the new library.

A human take on technology

I am passionate about technology. I don’t think I spend much time without it, this could be reading the news on my mobile ‘phone, or, catching up on an interesting video clip on-line. But technology doesn’t always get everything (remember the why technology gets it wrong post?), does it?

Technology does not get feelings

I was talking to a Librarian about the new gadgets within the library, as well as the use of technology in other sectors. It was interesting how we both agreed on a few points:

Technology is removing that human touch.
Self-service scanners / checkouts are putting human beings, us! out of jobs.
Electronic stores (such as the example of a bike store below) don’t allow us to have feelings with something.
Photo of an electronic bike store (inhabitat.com)

Photo of an electronic bike store (inhabitat.com)

Do you ever pick a fresh fruit over another fruit, even if it’s the same fruit, in the same container/basket?
We like to make connections with what we do. Now I am not saying we all have relationships with fruit (or another piece of food), for example, but I am trying to illustrate that as humans, this connection is important. This human touch allows us to think that we have just purchased a really good apple, for example.
We cannot form a relationship with a store
Electronic equipment is cutting the number of human beings within stores. But what about that little conversation we used to have with the cashier? We cannot form relationships with technology: technology is removing human beings from the ‘real’ world.
Technology does not cloud emotions
If a store’s closing up, the chances are that you will still get the item you are looking for are high. A shop owner is likely to let you quickly grab and buy an item, even if s/he is closing-up. With computers, they are either yes or no. As soon as it’s 18:00:00, for example, all transactions stop. Emotions are not taken into account.

Caring technology

Technology does not care, as such. It may be used within caring environments, such as a hospital, for example. But technology does not do feelings, nor is it likely to do so in the future. At least in the world in which we operate today!

Some blurs of emotions and technology do exist today, but they are not really used in everyday, real life. For example, smile detection on cameras enables the camera to take a photograph whenever a person smiles, but the same camera does not know how to associate this with feelings: camera’s do not know that smiling means happiness. It just knows to take a picture whenever we smile.

Do you care about technology, even if it doesn’t care about you?

(9) Product Reviews

Post 9:

We are now in an age where we are spoilt for choice. They are various models of computers for all needs, i.e., gaming, multimedia, browsing, office etc so where can we turn? For many it’s a chat to a friend who knows his/her stuff when it comes to a particular type of product, for others it’s an interesting read of reviews. Mostly “independent magazines” give the latest gadgets a complete guide to what features a product has. For example, some magazines will often display this on their cover work.

Perhaps I am a little sceptical about true independence, so I thought I’d share a friends experience when buying a camera recently:

After reading reviews from a magazine, she settled on a particular manufacturer and two models of cameras. She read a fantastic ‘independent’ review about a camera and was hyped up about its features, after seeing the camera her opinion quickly changed. In the review it didn’t say the camera had a flash light at the corner of the camera, it made handling of the camera very difficult. Afterwards she read the reviews again to see that the pictures and text didn’t mention the location of the flash light. After she told me about her experience I thought:

How true is independent?

Can a large manufacturer persuade a magazine (or other source) to accept their review about their product? For example, all positive, neat and fantastic features were written and explained easily. Any pictures (which coincide) with the article are at a certain angle so readers (potential e-commercial buyers) can see how ‘good’ the camera actually is. Does a magazine not accept any money for advertisements/promotions?

It leaves me thinking; surely money is bound to come into the equation to show a certain light on a product from the manufacturer.

Post 9, over and out. Thanks for reading!