Technology is a great thing. It gives us so much when it’s functioning properly. We never give it credit, though, just the blame, especially when things go wrong when we use it.
Take the case of Southwest Airlines this Sunday. They’ve experienced almost 300 flight delays today as a result of “technology problems.” Truth be told, this is more likely a combination of people and technology problems. I say this because people use technology. We are dependent on it. Technology is not dependent on us. It does what its code dictates. If human intervention sets in motion a series of undesirable outcomes, we can hardly blame our issues on “technology problems.”
It’s really more about human problems. We aren’t able to take responsibility for our actions, so why should we be surprised when we go to an airline website and see that flight delays in perfectly good weather conditions across the country are a result of technology problems? Fact is, we shouldn’t be.
I’ve been getting into pro football this year more than ever as a result of NFL Red Zone. Red Zone allows football junkies to catch all the action on all the games on a seemingly never-ending rotation of games with something happening in them. It’s a little bit overwhelming at first to the senses. But, you quickly get used to it. The marketing people thought we would and we did.
Now, if Red Zone doesn’t work some day for us, should we blame this on the technology or the people responsible for its implementation? I think you know where I think the blame should lie if we’re assigning blame. I prefer to give credit instead of blame, but if I have to, well, the people will lose the call on this thrown flag and the technology will stand uncriticized.
I read reviews (occasionally) when I stumble upon them. The ones that kill me are those where people rip apps on their phones.
“This app sucks!”
It actually could suck.
“Why did they go ahead and change this? Everything worked fine before this latest update.”
Well, they changed it because they’re people who want you to use (read, buy, where applicable) their app and they think making changes that do not necessarily bring anything new to the table will actually increase their user base.
“Why does this thing constantly make me log in every few minutes when I don’t use it?”
Well, because some human thought that would be more useful than irritating.
“Why doesn’t this app wipe my rear end?”
Probably because technology does have its limitations. It shares this flaw with humans. If we hurt both our shoulders in a game of tackle football and are unable to wipe our own rear ends, then unless we have a significant other that is a candidate for sainthood, we will be left to wait on a human who can create technology of some kind that enables this brush of the butt.
“This app is so awesome. I use it every day that I travel. I like how you can easily check in and generate an electronic boarding pass.”
Except when “technology problems” are the convenient scapegoat during those times it is not working.
This is the digital age. We live and die by our technology, not to mention, experience flight delays as result of the interaction of humans with it. One thing’s for certain, though. The overwhelming majority of planes that are up in the air will eventually come down safely. We have advances in technology to thank for this. And I, for one, am grateful for it, negative user reviews and disillusioned perceptions notwithstanding.