We Have To Stop Struggling With Technology. Or Do We?

Over the last few years, I’ve been championing products and services which appeal to the laziness inherent in all human beings.

I figure that I do many things each day, which can quickly be whisked away by the proper automation. If that automation is correctly done and audited, it frees us up to think and act on other things. I’ve said before that much of what we spend time on is something we have to do – not things we want to do. If there were only some way to eliminate those “have to do” things we don’t like, wouldn’t that be great?

So, I’ve driven a lot of ideation at our clients in the direction of “if there is a way to automate something, let’s do it.” If there is a way to determine intent without having the customer explicitly ask for something, we should go ahead and do it. My ideation typically strives for less work for the customer and more for the client’s systems.

The idea is to lift the burden of these actions from the customer’s responsibility and allow bots to take over. Brilliant bots, which can detect what we want to do and take action on our behalf in such an intelligent way that everything happens seamlessly in the background, is the holy grail of where technology needs to go.

This is the opposite of what we have today (where in many cases, we struggle with technology to force it to do what we want). Technology should not just work – it should work for us, guiding and assisting us to have better lives.

As I said, my focus is on the assumption that people want to do less. Others assume that people would like to do the same work, just differently, and others wish to do more. A conversation with a millennial triggered this idea.

As I was talking to him about this beautiful seamless future where technology would sink into the background and intelligent bots would do all of this work for us, he disagreed. He was all about agency. He felt that technology had already moved into his life too much. That agency – as he described it, the ability to control his life – had already been taken away from him to the degree that he thought my vision was a pure dystopia.

Who would want smart bots to do all this for them – how can they be trusted? So I questioned myself, and I’d like to throw this question out to you, dear readers, what do you think? Do you feel that we should be giving up more of our agency to technology – that we can trust it to do what we want – or do you think that we have already given up too much agency and should wrest it back?

Another supposition in my thinking is that our life is becoming so complicated that we need electronic assistants to sort through it all – but is this a fallacy? Should we give machines more of our lives, or should we take it back? What are your thoughts?