In my humble opinion, I do find that many people are too dependent on technology. The most obvious example that I encounter each time I go food shopping is at the check out line. I, after the cashier has put in how much I gave them, find some change in my bag and give it to them thinking that it will make it simpler for them to give me back change. Instead they get all flustered and often times don’t know how to figure it out correctly. I blame the introduction of the calculator too early in school, calculators aren’t really needed until trigonometry class. Addition and subtraction don’t require calculators, moreover, a calculator only works as well as the person who inputs the information. How often do we see typo’s when we are reading anything on the computer or in print. The amount of typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors drive me crazy. I blame the over-reliance on spell check and grammar check for these mistakes. I am sure that I make quite a few grammatical errors because there a few rules and I am rusty in their use. If those typos can be made with the printed word, than similar mistakes can be made when inputting numbers in the calculator. I really get the sense that people have adopted the notion that computers are practically omniscient.
I think, that is my greatest fear, that people just assume that a computer must be right. The computer is right only as long as the information put into the computer is correct. I have spent countless hours on the phone with a customer representative trying to rectify a mistake, but all I hear is “I’m sorry ma’am, that doesn’t show up in my computer” I am then required to photocopy all my documentation, send it to them and pray that the correct information will make it into the almighty computer.
Another example of this over-reliance on technology happened 18 years ago. I was working as a waiter in New York City, I had been trained by my father which meant that I knew the old ways of waiting tables. All orders were taken and transmitted manually, without technology. At this restaurant, I had to be trained to learn the brand new computer and luckily, I found it pretty simple. One evening, I don’t know how, but all the computers died during the dinner service. We were 7 waiters on the floor and I was the only one who had the experience of working without a computer. So I rallied the troops around and gave them a crash course in communicating with the bar, the kitchen and figuring out the checks and taxes. My fear is that the young ones will somehow miss out on the experience of what we all knew how to do without the privilege or luxury of a computer and technology.
I’m normally not a pessimistic person or negative either. There is just something about the old ways that I really want to hold on to tightly. The old ways, I like saying it, give me comfort. Perhaps it is my innate sense of unfamiliarity about computers that leads me to stubbornly resist them, I don’t know, but I do know that I resist new technologies for as long as possible. I don’t think that I will change anytime soon.