I show concerned parents who want to give their children the best start to life how to better understand their children.

9 Sep 2013

Why I Don’t Like Technology - Part 1

I want to tell you about a few of the reasons why I don’t like this wave of technology that humanity are riding now. I used to be a programmer, so I have plenty of experience in this field. Due to my background, many people think I should be a tech geek and own the latest iPad and what not. However, my background also gave me a different perspective on all this.

In one of the companies for which I worked, we created and sold a biometric time and attendance system. That’s one of those machines where employees ‘clock on’ with their thumbs. The information is then sent to a computer and, in theory, companies will be able to easily manage their staff. I knew the sales pitch; hell, I used to do it. We’d tell clients that we put the machine on the wall, and easy-peasy, you can monitor all your staff, and you won’t have to pay a site supervisor anymore, and you going to save lots of money, blah, blah, blah. All sounds great in theory. However, what we wouldn’t say is that you still have to hire someone to maintain and administer the system. They are still going to have to go on and get reports, manage exceptions, make calls, etc. So all we’ve done is gone from a system where we had a foreman going to site, shaking hands, talking to staff, building relationships, to a system where we pay a bunch of staff members to sit behind computers all day. You still have many of the same costs. So we really have to ask ourselves, is it really worth it?

Other examples include the Free-State government (The Free-State is a province in South Africa). In 2011, they announced that they were going to spend R140mil on their website over the next three-years. They wanted to do this because of the backlog of files and paperwork that plagues modern society. The idea was that members of the public would be able to get forms that they need, fill things in, get information, and they wouldn’t have to go into government offices anymore, or phone call centers. There are many flaws in this plan, including a lack of quality internet for many South African citizens. However, the biggest flaw is that these systems never really deliver what they promise. Long queues still snake out the offices of government departments.

I don’t know about anyone else, but many large companies have been through these big IT infrastructure upgrades. Yet, when you phone the call center you get, “Your call is important to us. You are number forty … seven in the queue. Please hold the line.” My pet hate are those PABX systems where, when you phone a call center, the PABX asks the caller to enter their identification or policy number or whatever number that the company uses to identify their clients. Then, when an operator finally picks up the phone, the first thing they ask for is your identification number. Worse still, when you need to speak to a supervisor and are redirected to several people, and on each leg, you enter your information and then verbally give it to the operator. I can just picture the sales meeting that took place. A fancy man in a suit arrives and wows the directors with promises of efficiency, and time is money, you’ll be able to handle more calls a day with less staff. A chart was probably involved too. I know, because as I said above, I was one of the people who used to do that.

Why I Don't Like Technology - Part 2
Why I Don't Like Technology - Part 3
Why I Don’t Like Technology - Part 4
Why I Don’t Like Technology - Part 5
Why I Don’t Like Technology - Part 6

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