When technology alienates people

A friend sent me an email this week expressing his rage at the way we are treated by big tech – that reasonable people are being made into ‘cyberoutlaws’. He said:

“… everyday someone’s b**tard web site changes or there is an update imposing itself when I want to do something or last years computer now has inadequate memory … never mind two years living under a stone and now being told we are going to be nuked by Vlad the genocidal …

Why are we treated like dirt and out needs as irrelevant! My technology works, it does what I want! I don’t want the latest thing. I don’t want to have to spend my hard-earned money just some someone elses bliddy app works better! Give me e break … grrr …”

People are now being marginalised as changing technology imposes unacceptable constraints on them – and there is beginning to be a noticeable backlash. For example:

Expert users enraged at Firefox change. In September 2018 Mozilla updated its Firefox browser to version 62 and, with notice, removed the ‘Notes’ field – becuase ‘most people don’t use it’. Many people actively used this field in an advanced manner and were outraged at the change and felt disenfranchised and marginalised, eg:

  • “The way FireFox used to do bookmarks was one of its best features. I could care less what happens on a phone. I use my phone to make phone calls. Tired of being pushed around by people who can’t chew their food without GPS and an app.”
  • “What a disastrous and stupid upgrade.  As you can see, I’m fighting with myself not to descend into a string of obscenities.  Who decided nobody needed anything they personally weren’t using?  A guy in a cave?”
  • “Chrome can’t do bookmark properties so it is inferior. Oh, wait, neither can Firefox anymore, it’s incompatible with coders who think everybody uses the browser the way they do. I’m so frigging sick of ‘progress’ that makes stuff worse.”

Vulnerable people outlawed for wanting to use cash. The Slashdot website has reported on the increasing trend to ban the use of cash in certain mainstream shops, businesses and service providers. It featured a Wall Street Journal article from 28 Dec 2018 highlighting the consequences for some of the most vulnerable people in society. Also, not only are local banks and post offices closing, but now they cannot use the little cash that they have – and they are treated like some kind of misfit.

There’s more to come of course …

[12 Mar 2022]

This entry was posted in Appropriateness, Change, Experienced complexity, Relationships, Risk, Social Media, The marginalised, Unintended consequences. Bookmark the permalink.

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