Friday, September 18, 2009

we came to this planet to simplify

last week i attended a conference. it was a technology conference on the mobile internet. what i observed, was that every single start-up and company talked about how

a) technology should simplify your life
b) want to make it easier for users, so they don't have to think about having to click to open an application or type in a credit card entry (ooo what a barrier!)
c) it all starts and ends with the user

And I have some choice thoughts on my mobile peeps here for a second: didn't technology actually make our lives complicated? I'm feeling rather radioactive with media right now. Because I don't think it's normal to absorb 25 status messages on facebook, 300 emails, 5000 ad impressions, 100 songs, 10 hours of PC/TV time in any given day.

Technology made our lives more detailed, more interactive, more interrupted. But to say that technology is here to simplify would be rather false. We're here to simplify the mess we've created. And we're here to make things easy for users, so that they can buy from us without really thinking and become more addicted to what we have to peddle.

1 comment:

Capt. BS said...

The problem is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics always wins. Whenever you "simplify" something for one frame of reference (e.g. the users of a mobile application), that same thing must necessarily become more complicated in some other frame of reference (e.g. the developers, hosts, and administrators of the application). And that's at the very least. Oftentimes, in practice, simplying one thing in a particular frame of reference makes something else in that same frame more complicated. (I'm looking at you, crackberry.)

So while the claim of "simplification" may be accurate for a particular domain, it necessarily comes at the expense of additional complexity somewhere else, for someone else, if not for you. Otherwise, there's nothing preventing the immediate and undesirable implosion of all space-time.