ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Good Tech Bad Tech

Updated on March 23, 2009

Good Tech, Bad Tech

By Wes J. Pimentel

Everything in life has advantages and drawbacks. This piece is about technology. Sometimes I’m really impressed with what these innovative and resourceful people come up with. Sometimes I want to weep when I think about how many man-hours went into what I consider to be colossal wastes of time.

I love, and I mean absolutely love self-checkout lanes. Oh my God! Who invented these?! Where are you, sir? Ma’am? Please contact me as soon as you read this. You can have my first-born. In general, I’m very appreciative of anything that reduces interactions with potentially annoying or repulsive humans. ATM machines, pay-at-the-pump, the entire internet (thanks, Al),… So, you can imagine how ecstatic I’ve been as self-checkout lanes proliferate more and more of our favorite retailers. I was in the Home Depot the other day. I hadn’t been in a Home depot in years. Can you imagine my excitement upon discovering the ol’ Depot had hopped on the bandwagon, too? It was like a mini-orgasm. I looked up, let out an audible sigh, my shoulders slumped down in complete relaxation, and I’m pretty sure I started tearing up. These little gems of modernity are a godsend. I see self-checkout lanes like the Bible. I mean, we all know people did the actual labor to bring them about, but the Big Man was definitely involved somehow.

My appreciation of these little slices of high-tech gadgetry became painfully obvious last night at about 3:30 am. I was at Wal-Mart, buying a coffee-maker. On my way to checkout I discovered, to my dismay that their four self-checkout terminals were off. So, I made my way down the lanes to find a homosapien to help me with my purchase. Just as I was dreading the prospect of being confronted by whatever unsavory character this off-the-beaten track Wal-Mart had to offer at 3:30 am, she appeared; looking quite perturbed about having to interact with a human, herself. She was about 5’6”, 280lbs. Ugly as sin with some sort of skin-disease on her face, wearing an expression that screamed, “FUCK YOU!” She had almost all grey hair, so she must’ve been at least fifty-five. It was then that I looked over my shoulder at the self-checkouts and for the second time in my life, was brought to tears by them.

As if increasing convenience and helping to avoid humans weren’t enough of a contribution to society, the self-checkout is also a great source of entertainment. Few things in life are funnier to watch than Neanderthals trying to figure-out one of these nifty little machines. You really get to see “the top of the food-chain” in all its glory. You have the fear of the unknown, the realization that you’re being defeated by a device intended to make your life more convenient, and sometimes just outright desperation. I love walking up to the station right next to these people, and then walking away about twenty seconds later, receipt in hand. The look that this produces is priceless. You’d get the same look from someone being eaten alive by crocodiles, right after you simply walk across the stream, stepping from croc-head to croc-head. Not to mention the looks you get from all the people standing in the standard lines, looking all haggard and annoyed at having to stand in line. The looks are a nice mix of “It can’t be that easy,” and, “I hate you.” God bless America.

Just as technology can be used to enrich our lives (as in the above example), it can also be used to break-down the very fabric of our society from the inside, like some devastatingly infectious virus.

I was in one of these big chain restaurants the other day (their lack of originality will keep their name out of my writings) and I noticed the most peculiar use of technology. It was a bus-boy, wearing a super-cool ultra-modern headset. What the hell is this? Since when did a bus-boy’s job become so complicated, we had to validate its technical complexity with special-forces-type communication gear? Just wipe the tables off, asshole. When you see dirty dishes, pick them up. There; orientation over. There’s no need for “commands from the tower.” What piece of information is so critical to the performance of this kid’s tasks that it has to be broadcast via short-wave communication equipment? “There’s a dirty cup at table 5”? “Table 13 is dirty”? What? It’s not like their in his ear like, “Ryan, good job wipin’ off the tables. We just got word that the president is landing at 3pm, so after you’re done sorting the flatware, could you secure the landing zone?” Seriously, what the hell could they possibly be telling this kid, that they can’t just walk-up and say? Now, this is a HUGE nation-wide chain. A RIDICULOUS amount of man-hours and money have been invested in this bus-boy headset idea, from its inception, to its annoying presentation to me, while I was trying to enjoy my meal. For this, I weep. We are in a technological crisis, America. We don’t need bus-boys with headsets. We don’t need robots answering EVERY FUCKING phone call I make, and we don’t need every single thing in our lives to be automated.

The building in which I work has automated paper-towel dispensers in the restroom. Whose bright idea was this? Who thought the inconvenience of actually bringing your fingers together in a pinching motion and slightly tugging to secure a paper-towel was unbearable enough to require automation? What fat, lazy piece of shit actually sat down and drew up the plans for this indispensable leap in technology? What about the poor janitors? They used to only need to pop open a box, place the paper-towels in it and close it. Now, an automated-paper-towel dispenser briefing is part of the janitor orientation. Why do you think they’re janitors?!? They don’t want to mess with technology. They want a fair salary for low-tech labor. Pretty soon you’re going to need a college degree just to clean toilets.

Technology is a double-edged sword. It can be wonderful or phenomenally annoying. While convenience and comfort are vital to our quality of life, when taken too far, the plan can backfire. Successful automation goes unnoticed. Valuable technology makes you wonder how you ever got along without it. To all those “geniuses” out there trying desperately hard to make our lives easier, just remember this: burning calories is healthy. Let’s not automate ourselves into the fattest country on Earth. Oops! Too late.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Schwag profile image
      Author

      Schwag 9 years ago from Clarksville, TN

      I'm actually very tech savvy and I love gadgets. I just take serious offense to unnecessary toys made to automate us out of ever burning another calorie. It's OK to move one's body. To see what I fear by over-teching, check out the people in the movie Wall-E. That's what we'll end up looking like if we tech ourselves into never needing to move again.

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      LOL you are funny when you are serious. love this mini-critiques of technology. i have made several observations myself but i stop short of weeping and questioning god. I just think, well if it doesn't rock my boat, it must be for somebody else. :D

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)