Ah, technology, it’s made so many things in our life simpler, hasn’t it? It takes only seconds to send messages to people halfway across the world, we can bring music with us everywhere, and we can take visual and audio mementos of anything in our life. It sure beats having to wait for weeks on end writing letters on paper, having to stay home to listen to some CDs, and depending on our “super acute” memories to remember everything we see and hear.
It’s amazing to think that most of what we do today wasn’t possible even twenty years ago, which is just a blink in the grand scheme of time. Technology has by far the fastest rate of evolution of anything in today’s world. But with changes and improvements being made so quickly, things are certain to go wrong and mess up.
Sure you can use your computer or laptop to create little videos of your youngest family members playing with each other to share with distant relatives, but the moment Internet connection is lost, it is no easy task to get back. There could easily be ten different problems that occurred, yet it only took one to lose the connection. Is it the router? Could my computer have “logged off” of the router? Did I accidentally change the password? Did my house lose all power? (Okay, that last one is bit of a stretch, but you get the idea.)
But why could so many things cause one simple problem? It’s frustrating, time consuming to solve, and just a huge inconvenience! As something evolves, it becomes more and more complicated. There are more aspects and connections made to create simpler and more efficient methods of problem-solving and task-doing. So in order to do just one simple action, such as connecting to the Internet, it takes multiple steps to do so. It becomes one short chain made of many links. And if only one link is missing or weak, the entire chain breaks.
And when the chain breaks, we become frustrated. What was once a simple task becomes the most complicated problem we’ve ever solved. Even if we know how to fix it, several steps must be taken to solve it. There is rarely a button labeled “Fix It” that makes the problem vanish in one click. And sometimes the problems are just ridiculous.
Today, while taking a surprise trip to a resort for the holidays, my sister was trying to go to facebook. However, when she typed the website address in the address bar, it said that she had typed “fqcebook:con” instead. The computer, which belonged to the hotel, had some strange problem that made about a third of the keys on the keyboard correspond to different characters. To say the least, it was ridiculous, and she couldn’t use that computer. Such a strange hassle over just typing a few letters. Just a simple task.
But then again, these simple tasks that we do are actually quite complex! Though connecting to the Internet may seem very simple, it did take that small chain of many links to do it. And when that chain is working, it only takes a simple click to get to our home pages. Many pieces of technology that are each made of many smaller pieces of technology, some of which are made up of even smaller pieces of technology (like a keyboard), all work together to create the pathway that connects us to the rest of the world. Amazing!
And that is what makes technology the incredible paradox that I call “The Complicating Simplifier.” Technology allows us to make very complex tasks simple, but it likes to mess with us every now and then.
And the scary part of all of this, I only talked about a computer. I didn’t even touch the subject of cars, MP3 players, TVs, cell phones, or anything else that makes life simpler, and yet more complicated, for us.
But let’s not go there, I don’t want to complicate this subject even more.