Good Try Technology!

If you have updated your iPhone’s operating system yesterday, you then got a message from Apple notifying you with the following message, “Do not disturb while driving. Your iPhone can silence incoming notifications whenever you appear to be driving.” It is kind of cool but how ironic, isn’t it? It seems that a group of technology gurus have just attempted to use technology to “cure” the massive technology addiction problem that they have created in the first place for the sake of innovation diffusion. On the surface, this is great news for some. Insurance agents are probably loving this new iPhone feature. 

Agents are probably saying, “Hey, you can now control your life and avoid a car accident! You can now choose to whether accept text messages while you are driving or not.” Wow! See? technology is wonderful. Let me help you to save some money because of that. Well, this new “do not disturb while driving” function on the iPhone is good. It serves a small purpose but in the grand scheme of things… its relevance is dismal.

I am hearing someone near Ocoee Street screaming, “What are you talking about Dr. A? This new technology is going to stop us from overusing technology! It has just cured the problem it created with technology.”  By now, you know me. I am skeptical about this new development. Let me explain.

This whole idea that technology can “cure” technological problems is overrated because most of our problems are human problems caused in large part by the technology. What if I told you that this technology will do very little, if anything, to help you with your life pursuits unless you work in the insurance business. If you do, then you probably will profit a bit from it. Managers now expect you to work more and be on call. You now are used to hearing from your family on the way back from work. Your teenage daughter now communicates with you via text message. By the way, do you really think that people will activate this function anyways?

Our society along with the smartphone have created the modern day superhero worker. Most companies today premium these superman-like people in the modern world who put in an average of 60+ hours a week of work, who are able to accept a wide variety of extra responsibilities for little compensation, who perform their job tasks all the time and accepts incoming calls from a client or a fellow co-worker while on vacation for the advancement of the enterprise. Do you really think that the Captain Americas of the new era will engage in self-sacrifice and stop using their devices (not receiving texts while driving) at the price of losing face with their overworked supervisors? I doubt they will.

Ladies and gentleman, in the grand scheme of things, all of this fuss about technology stopping text messages coming in to our phones while we drive will prove to be quite irrelevant to the majority of us. It is undeniably a great tool for insurance agencies as driving while distracted costs them millions of dollars each year in car accidents. What is there for you is nothing more than an expensive function added to your smartphone and maybe a reminder that you should be looking at the road not at your smartphone. Do you really need a tech tool to take your eyes off the road? You may but do you really?

This is what I think — people need to realize that whenever a new technology is infused in any system, changes will inevitably occur in that system. When the smartphone went mainstream back in 2007, the smartphone didn’t just serve as a new gadget on the market in isolation. In practice, smartphone technology has changed the way we operate in society in a number of respects. I honestly don’t think that a computer blocking text messages going to your phone will change your machine habits much in the same way that aspirin will never cure headaches only temporarily alleviate its symptoms. Technology has changed our world because it has redesigned our living systems. This new smartphone function won’t do much for you or me.