The other day I was driving happily along, when suddenly the emergency brakes slammed on and my dashboard lit up with warning signs. This has happened a few times when I pull into my garage a little too quickly, but never on the street. I was confused and alarmed, wondering what on earth had triggered the emergency brake system. And then I spotted it: a small twig with about seven leaves that had blown across the street, directly in front of my car.
I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if there had been a car behind me when my brakes slammed on. Would my car have caused an accident in its attempt to avoid driving over a little twig? I’ll never know, but the thought makes me distinctly uneasy.
I recently bought a new computer, and while setting it up I made the mistake of answering “yes” when asked if I wanted to upload all my photos to “The Cloud.” I was already paying a small fee to use I-Cloud storage, so that seemed to be the sensible answer. Sadly, it wasn’t, because it resulted in all my photos being uploaded twice, even the ones that I had previously stored only on my desktop. Even worse, I got a notice from I-Cloud saying that I had used up almost all my storage and inviting me to pay more to increase it. It also loaded all the photos (including the duplicates) onto my I-phone, which took a big chunk of that storage too. And I found that if I deleted the photos from my I-phone, it automatically deleted them from my computer as well. Since I prefer to keep most of my photos on my computer and just my favorites on my phone, that’s a problem.
The point of these stories is that new isn’t always better. I know that these days almost any annoying new thing seems to be justified by either calling it progress or claiming it’s a “matter of safety,” but that doesn’t make it true. I’ve had to spend hours deleting extra photos from my computer and still have no idea how to delete them from my phone while still storing the ones I want on my computer. And I’ll never be convinced that a car hitting its emergency brakes because a few leaves blow across the road is keeping anyone safe.
In far too many ways, the progress from our technology has made our lives more complicated and stressful. It may be more convenient to store all of our personal information, including medical and financial records, online but it also means we have to constantly worry about hackers stealing our identity and our money. Say what you will, but identity theft wasn’t a big thing before the internet. And remember the days when real people answered the phones if you called your doctor, bank, or just about any other company? Now we just get an automated voice listing various options, and none of them are ever the reason why I actually called.
Yes, I know, technology is mostly a good thing and we must “embrace change” and “go with the flow” and all the other pat phrases that people trot out whenever anyone dares to question the infallibility of progress. I’m just saying that in my opinion, change isn’t truly progress unless it’s a change for the better. And I believe that it’s perfectly okay to point out the difference between good change and bad change, and pick and choose (as much as we are able) which of the new technologies we embrace and which ones we reject….