Posted by: joha5 | May 20, 2010

Technology Giveth & Technology Taketh Away

We live in an age of technological wizardry.  We can buy things online and have them delivered directly to our home.  We can make video calls to almost anywhere in the world.  We can access bank accounts, information, and news at any second of any given day.  The limits of technology are seemingly without bounds.  In fact, just today scientists in the United States have created the very first organism controlled completely by human-made DNA.  Honestly.  What an incredible time we live in.  

Humans Can Actually MANUFACTURE This As Of Today

 

I not only utilize all of these scientific advances on a day-to-day basis but I appreciate it to no end.  Without the wonders of modern science my burst appendix may have killed me when I was 11 years old.  Without the phenomenon of Facebook I wouldn’t have even have gotten my very first career job in public relations and marketing.  I mean, I am totally at the mercy of technology and yet there are days when I want nothing but to banish it all away never to see it again.  

For all of the advancements that we have today, there are just so many times when this technology can inconvenience us and frustrate us to the core.  If I have a problem with my bank account I can call the bank 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Great.  But I can only speak to an automated voice and I have to punch in an endless sequence of numbers to get absolutely no definitive answer to any of the questions I had when I first called.  Terrible.  I drive my car to see a friend and I am easily directed by the traffic lights littered throughout the city.  Perfect.  But two weeks later I will check the mail and I will see a picture of my car zooming through an intersection at a yellow (apparently red) light attached to a $100 ticket.  Awful.  I can spend all day sitting at a coffee shop working on job applications and communicating with people all over the world.  Genius.  And then I am thwarted at the last-minute when the internet goes down and my application gets denied because it was late.  Dammit

Technology should actually make things easier for us to navigate the world – not complicate it.  So why is it that I spent almost 2 hours today calling my student loan company trying to figure out what was wrong with my student loans only to get 3 different formulaic answers from 3 different people?  To make things worse, I had to search through their website to find the information they told me about, I had to sign up to about 3 different websites just to be able to log in to the information that I needed, and I then had to e-mail all of that information over to my mother so that she could print it out for me, bring it home, I could fill it in, and then she can take it back to work with her to fax it over to them tomorrow.  Technology giveth and technology taketh away.   

I Hate Technology

 

Perhaps more specifically, technology giveth time-saving techniques and constant access to information but technology also taketh away our freedom because we become so reliant on it that we eventually have no option but to live with it.  Even after spending two hours with the student loan company on the phone today I still didn’t get any of the answers I wanted.  Something went wrong with a loan I was deferring and not a single person could actually explain to me what went wrong.  It’s funny that the only part they could explain to me with expert clarity is how much I owe them and by when.  I’m not bitter about having to pay them – even though I would obviously rather not.  But what I am bitter about is how much they relied on technology to solve a problem that easily could have – and should have – been solved by a quick 3 minute discussion with an actual person.  I am bitter that I have to partake in all of their absurd processes of filing paperwork just for the sake of a paper trail.  I am bitter about languishing on their computer system not as a person but as a 10 digit account number.  It isn’t just my stupid student loan company.  It’s everything.  

Want to pay your phone bill before you get charged with late fees?  You have to know your 10 digit account number.  What do you do if you don’t know it?  Then get ready to punch in your date of birth, your social security number, your credit card number, your debit card number, your college GPA, and then you can wrap up your first-born child and Fed-Ex it to them in the morning as proof of purchase too.  It is just pure unbridled insanity.  Seriously.  Then they harvest all of this information like they harvest hops and barley for Oktoberfest and just weeks later I will get letters, postcards, and flyers in the mail about loan consolidation, pre-approved credit cards, or new companies that will ‘help’ me reduce my debt.  It is a never-ending cycle.  

As if Atlas' Burden Wasn't Big Enough.

 

So is it any surprise that there are days when I just want to stop the world and get off for a little while?  This is a battle that I will have for the rest of my life.  If it isn’t the student loan company then it is the mortgage company for the new house I just bought or the charity calling me that I donated to exactly a year ago asking for more money and donations or a collection agency reminding me that I am late on the payments for that car I bought 4 years ago.  Maybe when I have more money I won’t mind all of this so much or maybe it will be even worse than it is now.  I have no idea.  All I know is that with the good always comes the bad.  Technology gets no reprieve from me in this department – and it never ever will.

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Responses

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more… I often seem almost hypocritical when dealing with technology! i.e. it’s ok for me to stay on my netbook and browse for hours while relaxing with my husband, but when HE sits on his computer for 15 mins, I get annoyed. Or that could be more of a female thing – ha!

    • Hey pbandchutney! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today! I actually don’t think it is a female thing at all. I literally can surf for hours like you and then the second I know that I am not allowed to have access when I want to have it I start to go CRAZY. It is very duplicitous because I don’t want to need it so badly but the second I sit and waste time on the computer I just hate myself for it. Please come back and comment anytime!! 🙂

  2. I think the internet has society by the balls and the inexplicable thing is that most people don’t seem to think that they can’t live without it, but as joha5 said, the minute they can’t have it they go crazy…. I wrote a small blog post talking about socio-internet. http:snbsite.wordpress.com is under tech babble category if anyone wants to read it.

    • It’s amazing to think that the internet has only been available publicly for what? 15 years? And just look at how it has totally revolutionized the way we interact with each other and the world around us. It’s pretty crazy. Also, I read your blog post and it is great. Anybody who sees this should take a quick look at it if you are interested in the topic. Thanks for writing, David!


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