When was the last time you took a quick look at your Facebook page and realized that two hours of your life were gone and absolutely nothing good came of it? It was yesterday, wasn’t it? Tell the truth, now.
Here’s the thing. Technology is supposed to make us happy and productive, not frustrated and miserable. It’s supposed to enhance our lives, not complicate them. It’s supposed to serve us, not enslave us.
I know it’s easy to forget that so I’m here to remind you.
Here are just a few of the annoying little gifts technology has given us that just keep giving, day in, day out. They’ve become as much a part of our lives as taxes, bureaucrats and hemorrhoids. And they will never, ever go away.
Spam. Spam should not have been called spam. Spam, the food, is just nauseating. Junk email is like coming home every day to find an enormous pile of sewage at your front door. Our inboxes are where marketers dump their garbage. I would eat spam everyday if it would make junk email go away.
ADD. We’re all hopeless addicts with the attention span of hummingbirds. At this point, I’d be willing to bet that we’d all test positive for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Media hype. Virtual reality, delivery drones, self-driving cars, Google Glass, smart clothes, Theranos finger-stick blood tests, home robots, the Internet of Everything, vaporware … the next big thing is never what the media hypes. It just happens.
Institutionalized lying. Before technology, people had to lie to your face. It’s so much easier when there’s zero accountability or repercussions. If you can type it, you can lie about it. Want to be a best-selling author? Done. A CEO? No problem. An award-winning keynote speaker? Easy. A big shot star? Just say the magic words: Personal branding.
Debt. We can buy anything we want at the touch of a button. And we do. Our consumerist culture is more indebted than ever before; half of us are over our heads in debt.
Emoticons. A happy or winky face every once in a while was cute. Now it’s out of hand. Communication is devolving. Mark my words: There will come a day when we can no longer formulate intelligible sentences. Some of us are already there.
A web that never forgets. Thanks to Google, everything you do online is indexed and searchable for all eternity, like a bad tattoo you get late at night that you can never, ever get rid of.
The sharing economy. I guess it doesn’t take much to get a pretty big chunk of the population to quit working. They call themselves solopreneurs but most are just slackers with a couple of low-paying gigs. That is, when they feel like working. Now you know why the labor force participation rate is at a multi-decade low.
Computus interruptus. Blue screens, black screens, frozen screens, rainbow wait cursors that spin for all eternity, HTTP 404, 502, out of memory, and the infamous Abort, Retry, Fail? from MS-DOS. Whatever the message, the result is the same: work stops and, depending on how much work you lost, so does your heart.
Ads. Everywhere. You only used to see advertisements on TV and billboards. Technology made it cool to blast you with annoying ads that eat up your network and computer bandwidth wherever and whenever.
Hackers. All our deepest, darkest secrets – our finances, healthcare, communications, everything – are online where any two-bit hacker in China or Russia can get to it. Hard to believe.
Smartphones. If just thinking that you left the house without your precious phone brings on a panic attack, you’re not alone. Maybe they have become indispensible appendages that are more important to us than sex, but an entire population of distracted, disassociated zombies is not a good thing. It just isn’t.
Passwords. Even with keychains and password management systems, Usernames and passwords are hands down the biggest pains in the you-know-what ever.
Ctrl+Alt+Del. Even Bill Gates had to finally admit what an annoying mistake it was to make users press the Control-Alt-Delete combination to reboot, interrupt, logon, and open Windows task manager.
Facebook. What a ginormous waste of a billion human lives. Every so often I mistakenly end up on my personal Facebook page instead of my business page and, seeing all the ludicrous nonsense everyone posts makes me want to smash the screen. Actually, the same goes for about 95% of user-generated content.
Twitter Trolls. I don’t suppose it was ever easy to be famous, what with the Paparazzi and all, but Twitter trolls have taken evil vitriol and stalking to a whole new level.
YouTube. Where brain cells go to die. Dumb human tricks. Silly animal tricks. Cute kittens. Babies doing adult things. Watching gamers play and narrate. YouTube has without a doubt set the evolution of the human brain back at least a thousand years.
Don’t get me wrong. Tech folks mean well. It’s just the law of unintended consequences gone completely out of control. Makes you wonder what it’ll be like when virtual reality takes off and we can spend all our time completely immersed in make-believe lives. I can only imagine.