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I’m sorry for sounding like a grumpy old man. But I’m totally going to go to Andy Rooney and complain about the gadgets and tech that — though well-intentioned — the average person is forgetting about.
It’s asking me: what is technology made for? Tech isn’t just for nerds anymore, but companies often act like it is.
Amazon and Apple got into a fight a few weeks ago over “lossless” audio files. I didn’t even know what they were. They are high quality digital songs that most people can’t distinguish from the regular versions. Likewise, the latest features in smartphone software sound smart, but I wonder how many people will take advantage of them and create iMessage notifications for their boss. One of Apple’s latest features is for up to 18 people who want to use the same keyboard to control an iPad and Mac at the same time.
Please don’t yell at me! I know some people care passionately About things like this, and it makes sense for tech companies to get them done. Companies also constantly improve their products that are relevant to the tech-savvy 1 percent and all others.
But I can’t help thinking that it would be better for tech companies and us if they focused more of their energy and marketing muscle on what matters to the 99 percent of people who use technology.
Smartphones are one of the most mass market products ever. What do many people want from their phones? A good look, simplicity, long battery life, low cost for device and internet surfing, and better resistance to our clumsiness.
But the hot marketing pitch for smartphones in the United States has been their ability to connect to 5G cellular Internet networks, which most Americans can’t access and may not need for a long time.
When Apple devotes all of its TV commercials to dropping your phone down the toilet, you’ll know the industry is raving about 99 percent of the time. (Yes, I know a lot of phones have been made more resistant to water, including bathroom dunking.)
I liked The Verge’s list of everything the tech industry assumes everyone knows in 2019 but most humans don’t. Ordinary people don’t know how Facebook ads are targeted at them, why Bluetooth is so flaky (or what Bluetooth is), or whether they need to buy extra storage on their phones because Apple keeps bugging them.
“This is a reminder of an important fact that I think the entire tech industry consistently forgets,” Nilay Patel wrote in that 2019 article. “Most people have no idea how anything actually works, and are hopelessly confused by the technology they already have.”
Most people don’t have the time and brain space to take care of anything other than the basics of using their phones, computers, television sets or other essentials and apps. And that’s perfectly fine and normal. What’s not right is that the biggest and richest companies on the planet often don’t meet those needs.
Technology companies must continue to come up with cutting edge advances. But the balance seems to be between new, wow stuff, and what most people really need.
Tech companies should also stop pretending that normal humans will dig into complex privacy controls. That could mean baby monitors shouldn’t have passwords that criminals can easily find online, and Amazon shouldn’t automatically turn people’s home gadgets into shared Internet networks.
I don’t have a simple fix. Maybe technology companies should hire chief general officers to ensure that gadgets, apps and software are needed and usable for 99 percent of the time.
it is really Difficult To make things easier and meet the needs of millions or even billions of people. The first step is to remember that technology should be for everyone.
Read Original Article at www.nytimes.com