Have you noticed the degradation in quality and service lately? That Big Mac of yours increased in price by 75 cents from six months ago, and they replaced the English-speaking workers at Taco Bell with Hispanic workers who can’t understand your order. The post office is trying to ‘upsell’ you into more expensive shipping at the counter, and carefully measuring the size of letters to tack on extra fees they didn’t enforce before. Banks are all of a sudden nosy about depositing your own money, and even more nosy about withdrawing it (after all, they can’t make money without your money). Automated checkout counters are getting more and more common, but they won’t let you cancel items that were scanned twice by the overzealous barcode reader — basically they want to save money on labor, but don’t trust you enough to do it yourself.
Ads are being blasted in your face, from Skyfall (a VW Beetle, really?) to Facebook (you’re the product), everything is being monetized, tracked, and automated to extract as much money from you for the least possible effort. The Federal Reserve is in on it with inflation, and the European Union doesn’t even try to pretend anymore, with the proposed confiscation of Cyprus bank accounts.
The ‘cloud’ was supposedly supposed to save everybody, so the pie-in-the-sky marketers were telling us. Oops, they shut down Google Reader and now all the apps I have that sync with it are now dead. Cloud backup sounds great until you hit your monthly bandwidth cap (thanks monopolistic internet providers!) Possession is nine-tenths of the law, people. Your fancy Ruby on Rails website for tracking to-do lists might run out of venture capital funding and die, but I still have apps that were probably written with Borland Delphi for Windows 95. Executable files, baby! Or even better yet, open source code!
With all this technology and supposed human progress, society was supposed to be ‘easier’, but we as humans are making it more difficult, and why? So the people at the top can squeeze a few extra cents from you, instead of delivering value for those few extra cents? Paying more for getting less is the trend these days.
Is there concrete, measurable, benefit from all the shiny new features that we are being sold? Has there ever been?
Society is due for a change. I am pleased that there are those waking up, those who are revitalizing the ideas of minimalism and self-sufficiency. You’ll always remember your first trip overseas, or your first kiss, but who remembers what Android/iOS app they bought on May 17, 2010? Who knows if that app is even compatible with your current phone, or if you’ll need to buy an upgrade?