Technology and Expectations
I had a very interesting thought today regarding people’s(my) expectations and technology.
Owing to the magical powers of technology, and the constant surprises it brings us via Engadget and other tech information sources, it seems that we have high expectation for what technology can do for us.
I, for one, have enormous and sometimes unrealistic expectations. Whenever I throw my shiny Samsung Yeppi MP3 player into my bag full of random stuff (lip gloss, ball pens, wallet with metal zipper on the outside, heavy books, bottles of drinks, napkins, metal hair clips, spring notes and more) I don’t expect the MP3 player to be scratched or broken in half. Of course, I try to treat it with care, but sometimes I’m sure it ends up being at the bottom of my bag crushed by thick engineering books which get thrown down to the floor as I drop my bag. As for the earphones, it gets even more elegant treatment from me. When I get depressed out of my guts, I tend to pull the MP3 player out of my bag, and sometimes the earphones are caught between all the hazardous stuff inside my bag. The pulling and yanking of the earphone can’t be good for the earphone. Although realizing that my manner of treating these devices are poor, I tend to justify them, especially when I’m depressed, by saying ‘the engineers who designed it must’ve have taken it into account that I would yank and pull the earphones like this.’
Similarly, I expect things to be nearly perfect, paradoxically convincing myself that technology can do some amazing things. I am fully aware that the very thin and flexible strands of electrical wire inside the earphone can only take certain stresses just like its rubbery cover. Yet, with never ceasing magazine articles about new materials and innovative devices, which are designed to address problems people usually hadn’t even realized as problems, I think it only makes sense that such indestructible MP3 player and earphones ‘should’ exist in present day. I mean, we already make marshmallows out of seaweeds for those who like the sweets but don’t like to gain weight. If the world addresses such issues, then doesn’t it only make sense that we should already have developed amazingly strong earphones that never break no matter how hard you yank at them when you take them out of your cluttered bag?
So it seems that my bad manner might have something in common with my philosophy thesis idea – distrust cycle. It’s a cycle in the sense that the expectations of people like me rise as new technology introduces itself, and technology try to meet the high expectations by developing further technologies. The difference between people’s expectation and what current technology has to offer to the people is becoming a more common type of engineering problem; I know for a fact that such difference is used as the problem definitions of many engineering projects.
Through the momentary observation of my treatment of MP3 player and earphone, I came to the following conclusion: although hard to believe, there might be something that develops/grows faster than technology – and that is our expectations on what technology can/should do for us.