When Technology Fails: “The System Won’t Let Me”

We are so bound by technology that we do very little without it. I love technology. It enables me to write emails, send newsletters, and share articles. That’s the beauty of technology. But boy, when technology fails us, it can be deeply frustrating.

Let me share a recent experience I had and how it would have been handled before and after technology (this really did happen). Last week, I wanted to pay a bill:

BEFORE: I would write a check, place it in an envelope, put a stamp on it, mail it out. Making sure the bill is paid on time, I mail it in advance to account for “snail mail”.

AFTER: Realizing the bill is coming due, I go online to make the payment. Once my computer boots up, I instantly get a notice that my virus protection is expired. I saw this notice several times recently but ignored it. I remember an email that my protection plan was automatically renewed so I’m not sure why it is expired. I decide to investigate.

It turns out I needed to download and install the new update. I begin installation and it runs into a looped problem and will not complete. No matter what I do, “the system won’t let me” complete the installation process. I go to the 24/7 online chat available and the agent helps me run through some system checks. Deciding the best route to take, she recommends uninstalling the old and reinstalling the new. I do so and reboot my computer. Forgetting to get the activation code for the new upgrade, I must go back to online chat. It is the same agent, she gives me the code and all working great. It is now 2 hours later. I realize the time, turn off the computer, and get ready for work. I forget to pay my bill.

We can all relate. Even calling our insurance company or a credit card company can lead to similar scenarios. We try to take care of our responsibilities, sometimes to no avail. We run into problems like “the system is down” or “the system is running slow today” or if we are trying to make changes, “the system won’t let me”. We have a love / hate relationship with technology.

What makes me most curious is how paralyzed we are without it. It’s an intriguing concept. We are paralyzed and unable to proceed until the “system permits”. When did the creator become ruled by the created?

Now, I realize I let myself get distracted from paying the bill but the truth is, I had been ignoring the virus protection warnings for a while. The point here is recognizing that when it comes to technology, much of what we do actually takes longer than it did before. Yet we continue to live in the illusion that technology has made our lives easier.

And what’s worse, though we know it is happening, we do little about it. If anything, we seek ways using technology to make up for the side effects it causes.

I see a sort of apathy taking hold. When I speak with others about it, the conversation inevitably goes from “Yeah, isn’t that funny?” to “I know, it is so frustrating!” to a kind of resigned “What can you do”?

We laugh, we cry . . . then we go have lunch. What do you think? Do you have the same love / hate relationship with technology?

Would love your thoughts, please comment