. . . why we have allowed technology to make our lives both more complex and less efficient. I'm referring to the tendency of manufacturers of everything from washing machines to (from what I hear) vibrators to incorporate computer chips into their devices.
I don't think I need to know that my toothbrush is recharged at a 75% level, thank you. I don't need to watch my car compute gas mileage on a minute-by-minute basis. And I certainly don't need to be viewing the interior of my refrigerator unless I'm standing in front of it trying to make something appear out of nothing.
You know what all this technological gadgetry does? It makes us crazy. My question is why, when it seems possible to know and control everything, do I know so very little and feel so out of control?
And I know the answer: it's because technology is so unreliable and frustrating and counterintuitive and, well, robotic.
The final blow came when my machine machine was on the blink. My instructions were to call the hot line.
When a person finally answered, his idea was that I would read him the information on the screens, and we would diagnose the problem together. Of course it was fruitless - just a huge waste of everyone's time. The problem was solved in a method decidedly Old School: by a human repairman, who informed me that unlike washers and dryers of old, today's laundry equipment is designed to last a mere five years "mostly due to all the technology."
"I don't get it!" I cried. "That's because you don't sell washing machines," said he. This kind of logic makes smart homes look pretty darn dumb.
Her Point of View
Designer Paule Hewlett takes on design, culture and modern life.
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"Life is too short for ugly dish towels. Really, ugly anything."