23 votes

There is such a thing as too much technology

Today I went to my favorite bakery/cafeteria/restaurant/grocery store (yeah it's one place, but not large enough to be considered a supermarket - IDK the correct terminology in English but you get the gist). It's a nice place if a little pricey. About a month ago, they installed a gate. Next to the gate, there's a huge metal thing with a single red button. When you press the button, it tosses an electronic ticket (that stores every purchase you make in the system) and the gate lets you go through. These are not synchronous, sometimes the gate is unlocked a lot sooner than the ticket is tossed. So today, after I got into the store, an employee had to run towards me to give me my electronic ticket. Okay.

I noticed that, despite the machine having only one very big button, lots of people still need to be instructed by the employee in order to enter, and he's constantly manually handing out the tickets. There is also a gate to leave that slows things down.

In this last month, I went a lot less to this place. That's because, whenever passing by, I used to enter just to check things up, see if there was something new or appetizing. You know, impulse buys. The need to check myself in and out (even when I don't purchase anything) made me quit that habit. I think other people are the same. Besides, what's the good of automation if it requires a human being to make it work correctly? AFAIK, the analog system worked. And we're not in a dangerous part of town where one needs to worry about people putting products in their pockets.

That's why I say: sometimes, there is such a thing as too much technology.

52 comments

  1. [36]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    Our two big supermarkets in Australia are talking about checkout-free shopping. You install an app in your phone, and then use your phone to scan every item you take from the shelves. When you...

    Our two big supermarkets in Australia are talking about checkout-free shopping. You install an app in your phone, and then use your phone to scan every item you take from the shelves. When you leave the store, the app automatically charges your debit/credit card with the value of your purchases.

    This sounds like your store's electronic ticket.

    It sounds good, except for the fact that the app monitors your movements inside the store, it knows what you buy and when, and it can serve you advertisements whenever the supermarket company wants to. It can advertise products while you're in the store, thus attempting to prod you into buying more than you wanted. It can advertise products while you're near the store, thus attempting to prod you into coming to the store even if you weren't planning to buy something.

    Technology isn't there to help us any more. It's there to help the retailers. Even the self-checkouts aren't for our convenience: they help the store to hire less employees and reduce their costs.

    28 votes
    1. [23]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      In my experience, replacing time tested technologies with smartphones will most likely be a pain in the ass. Smartphones have finite batteries, they break, get lost and lose connectivity. There's...

      In my experience, replacing time tested technologies with smartphones will most likely be a pain in the ass. Smartphones have finite batteries, they break, get lost and lose connectivity. There's also a whole bunch of people that do not care about smartphones and others that simply do not have enough money to purchase one. OH, and what about those people that, while managing to have a smartphone, cannot pay for good and reliable mobile-data? In addition to all that, cellphones are unreliable because all electronics are unreliable. And don't get me started on internet connection!

      Smartphones are great for non-essential things, but they're far from being reliable and accessible enough for us to neglect redundancies.

      10 votes
      1. [22]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous. About two-thirds of all Australians own at least one smartphone. We're the highest users of "tap and go" payments in the world (including debit/credit cards...

        Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous. About two-thirds of all Australians own at least one smartphone. We're the highest users of "tap and go" payments in the world (including debit/credit cards and smartphone payment apps). For Australians, adding a new feature to their smartphones is seen as convenient.

        3 votes
        1. [21]
          mrbig
          Link Parent
          But smartphones in Australia do lose charge, no? :P

          But smartphones in Australia do lose charge, no? :P

          4 votes
          1. [20]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            We carry things called "chargers". A "charger" is a small device which sources "electricity" from "power points" and transfers that "electricity" into a phone. It's small enough to carry in...

            We carry things called "chargers". A "charger" is a small device which sources "electricity" from "power points" and transfers that "electricity" into a phone. It's small enough to carry in backpacks, handbags, purses, even pockets. Maybe you've heard of them? ;)

            We recharge our phones during the day if we need to - at work, for example, or at school. Anywhere there's a power point, we can recharge our phones.

            I have even seen USB ports built into walls & pillars in shopping centres, specifically for people to use to charge their phones. You can sit in a food court and charge your phone while you eat lunch.

            We can also buy power packs (external batteries) from vending machines. We literally have vending machines that will sell you a power pack to recharge your phone.

            The convenience of having a portable computer and communications device in one's pocket far outweighs the inconvenience of having to keep it charged. Also, like any other common technology, people just learn to live with it. We can't drive a motor vehicle all the way from Sydney to Melbourne without "recharging" it with petrol, and we accept that. We also accept that we can't use a phone for more than 24 hours without "recharging" it with electricity. That's just how life is.

            3 votes
            1. [8]
              mrbig
              Link Parent
              hahahah yeah I do know about chargers and company! I just find this whole thing very inconvenient and unreliable. I like having a debit card because it will work as long as there is electricity,...

              hahahah yeah I do know about chargers and company! I just find this whole thing very inconvenient and unreliable. I like having a debit card because it will work as long as there is electricity, and I still keep paper money on my wallet. You might say I'm a reliability nerd because I prefer something dumb that always works than something flashy that might not work 100% of the time. I'm also in the third-world and, while not poor, my smartphones are always 2 to 3 generations behind and I repair the shit out of them. So my point of view is impacted by that.

              7 votes
              1. [7]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                Actually, your debit card relies on the store having electricity, and the banking systems working. We've had power outages, telecommunications failures, and banking system crashes in Australia...

                I like having a debit card because it will work as long as there is electricity, and I still keep paper money on my wallet.

                Actually, your debit card relies on the store having electricity, and the banking systems working. We've had power outages, telecommunications failures, and banking system crashes in Australia which have stopped debit card payments in their tracks (and we're a first-world country!). Nothing is 100% reliable.

                The only added unreliability with a smartphone is the phone battery. But, like I said, people learn to carry a charger to compensate for that.

                I'm also in the third-world and, while not poor, my smartphones are always 2 to 3 generations behind and I repair the shit out of them. So my point of view is impacted by that.

                Noted.

                1 vote
                1. [6]
                  mrbig
                  Link Parent
                  You are correct. That is why I also carry some paper money with me.

                  Nothing is 100% reliable

                  You are correct. That is why I also carry some paper money with me.

                  1 vote
                  1. [5]
                    Algernon_Asimov
                    Link Parent
                    And what if their cash register isn't working? What if you drop your wallet into a fountain or a puddle, and the paper disintegrates? (We have plastic banknotes here.) The only totally reliable...

                    That is why I also carry some paper money with me.

                    And what if their cash register isn't working? What if you drop your wallet into a fountain or a puddle, and the paper disintegrates? (We have plastic banknotes here.)

                    The only totally reliable form of payment is direct barter: you give someone a goat at exactly the same time as they give you a bushel of wheat (and, even then, you have to hope the goat doesn't fall over & die as you take it to the shop). With everything else, we're having to endure some level of unreliability in exchange for the added convenience of some technology.

                    1 vote
                    1. mrbig
                      (edited )
                      Link Parent
                      Yeah, nothing's going to be 100%! I do like to have safeguards, though. Its a sad consequence of many social conditions. I'm black. For me, there is no such thing as asking authorities for help....

                      Yeah, nothing's going to be 100%!

                      I do like to have safeguards, though. Its a sad consequence of many social conditions. I'm black. For me, there is no such thing as asking authorities for help. Ever. And if I ask anyone on the street for help, they will think I'm a criminal. If I'm stranded somewhere and my old-ass cellphone is broken or discharged, I have no money or no means, I will sleep on the street. And, living where I live, I might get mugged, stabbed or worse.

                      So it is not an exaggeration to say that I was trained to be paranoid. And you better believe I am! I use a wallet, but I always keep some extra money in my backpack, sometimes in my sock and even in underwear if I'm carrying too much.

                      But our beaches are beautiful! hahaha

                      4 votes
                    2. [3]
                      mrbig
                      Link Parent
                      Oh, and last time the power went out when I was at a store, they had paper receipts and used a paper notebook to register all transactions! From what I overheard, they would enter all the data...

                      Oh, and last time the power went out when I was at a store, they had paper receipts and used a paper notebook to register all transactions! From what I overheard, they would enter all the data from paper into the system after the power came back. As far as I can tell, they did not lose a single sale!

                      1 vote
                      1. [2]
                        Algernon_Asimov
                        Link Parent
                        That sounds very innovative. Maybe stores should install this new so-called "paper" system everywhere, if it's more reliable than old-fashioned computers.

                        That sounds very innovative. Maybe stores should install this new so-called "paper" system everywhere, if it's more reliable than old-fashioned computers.

                        2 votes
            2. [11]
              patience_limited
              Link Parent
              This seems unduly sarcastic and unhelpful. What problem or question are you actually trying to address? It's a fact that smartphones aren't actually ubiquitous in every nation. In any case, they...

              This seems unduly sarcastic and unhelpful. What problem or question are you actually trying to address? It's a fact that smartphones aren't actually ubiquitous in every nation.

              In any case, they shouldn't be a requirement for basic commerce to take place, not least because of the privacy issues.

              5 votes
              1. [3]
                mrbig
                Link Parent
                Nah, I understand this may seem that way, but I and @Algernon_Asimov go a long way. Well, not really a long way, but a long way in Tildes terms. It's friendly banter ;)

                This seems unduly sarcastic and unhelpful

                Nah, I understand this may seem that way, but I and @Algernon_Asimov go a long way. Well, not really a long way, but a long way in Tildes terms. It's friendly banter ;)

                6 votes
                1. [2]
                  patience_limited
                  Link Parent
                  Well, shame on me for tone-policing, I guess. I've been on the receiving end of less-friendly versions of that kind of banter, and it's hard to tell the difference.

                  Well, shame on me for tone-policing, I guess. I've been on the receiving end of less-friendly versions of that kind of banter, and it's hard to tell the difference.

                  2 votes
                  1. mrbig
                    Link Parent
                    It happens! This is a consequence of the limitations of text communication, you did nothing wrong. The important thing is to keep the channels open so we can always amend our statements without...

                    It happens! This is a consequence of the limitations of text communication, you did nothing wrong. The important thing is to keep the channels open so we can always amend our statements without fear of being chastised. It's all good ;)

                    3 votes
              2. [7]
                Algernon_Asimov
                Link Parent
                I deliberately put a smiley face on my first paragraph, to show that I'm trying to be humorous. @mrbig got it. The rest of my comment is serious, with no sarcasm intended. Can people please give...

                I deliberately put a smiley face on my first paragraph, to show that I'm trying to be humorous. @mrbig got it.

                The rest of my comment is serious, with no sarcasm intended.

                Can people please give me the benefit of the doubt? I am absolutely sick and tired of everyone always assuming the worst of me. The instant I step outside of writing like an emotionless robot, I get descended on like a piece of meat thrown to a pack of wolves. Sometimes it feels like "assume good faith" applies to everyone on Tildes except me.

                3 votes
                1. [2]
                  mrbig
                  Link Parent
                  Hey! I do! So that's not everybody, it's at least everybody minus one :D

                  Can people please give me the benefit of the doubt?

                  Hey! I do! So that's not everybody, it's at least everybody minus one :D

                  1 vote
                2. [4]
                  patience_limited
                  Link Parent
                  I don't always assume the worst of you, which is why I thought long and hard before complaining. I really did think the specific comment was unduly harsh or noisy, even with the smiley face....

                  I don't always assume the worst of you, which is why I thought long and hard before complaining. I really did think the specific comment was unduly harsh or noisy, even with the smiley face. Perhaps a "/s" next time?

                  1. [3]
                    Algernon_Asimov
                    Link Parent
                    We can't see that. We can only go by what you write. And, as you've demonstrated, written text is open to misinterpretation. But it wasn't sarcasm. It was (intended to be) lighthearted silliness,...

                    which is why I thought long and hard before complaining.

                    We can't see that. We can only go by what you write. And, as you've demonstrated, written text is open to misinterpretation.

                    Perhaps a "/s" next time?

                    But it wasn't sarcasm. It was (intended to be) lighthearted silliness, with a hint of absurdity. I mean, who hasn't heard of phone chargers? I already know my audience is tech-savvy enough to be using the internet, so it's safe to assume that they know about phone chargers. Therefore, I chose to raise the point in a humorous fashion, rather than just bluntly say "We carry phone chargers to ameliorate the problem of phones losing charge."

                    But, I've noticed when I attempt humour, people assume the worst. It's very disheartening. It forces me to write. Like. A. Robot. Without. Any. Personality. Or. Inflection.... which I find very frustrating at times. I have a personality. In real life, I'm quite witty and enjoy some good humorous banter. Sure, I like sarcasm, but I also enjoy silliness. But, here on Tildes, I have to erase all of that from my communications for fear of being misinterpreted.

                    2 votes
    2. [7]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. [6]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        I don't use loyalty cards, for this reason. Also because they're unrewarding; I worked out that, on one card, I'd have to buy $1,000 of groceries to earn a $20 reward.

        I don't use loyalty cards, for this reason.

        Also because they're unrewarding; I worked out that, on one card, I'd have to buy $1,000 of groceries to earn a $20 reward.

        2 votes
        1. joplin
          Link Parent
          I hate them but have succumbed to using them because some stores (particularly pharmacies) are a real ripoff if you don't use them. In my area, you can often get the price down by 40-50% if you...

          I hate them but have succumbed to using them because some stores (particularly pharmacies) are a real ripoff if you don't use them. In my area, you can often get the price down by 40-50% if you buy with a card and buy a large quantity. (Where a large quantity is a bottle of 100 pills of ibuprofen, loratadine, etc.) I've seen cases where a 10 pack of allergy meds is $1.00 per pill, but a 50 pack is like 30 cents per pill or whatever, so you pay $10 for 10 pills or $15 for 50 pills if you have the card.

          Here the grocery stores also link up with certain gas stations. I've saved $1.00 per gallon by using my grocery rewards points several times. (Which shows you how much profit the gas companies are making!)

          I've heard there are groups of people that will swap cards in order to confuse their statistics and poison their databases. I've never done it, but it sounds like a fun idea.

          3 votes
        2. [4]
          tomf
          Link Parent
          Most of them are a joke, but sometimes you need their stupid card to get the better pricing. You don't need to use real information for your loyalty card. Some dude named Steve has xxx5551234 in...

          Most of them are a joke, but sometimes you need their stupid card to get the better pricing.

          You don't need to use real information for your loyalty card. Some dude named Steve has xxx5551234 in my area and I've been using his accounts at a few places.

          Also, if you say you're from out of town, they'll often have a store-card they can use to get you any 'discounts' associated with the loyalty card.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            pseudolobster
            Link Parent
            For any rewards programs that use phone numbers for identification, try (area code) 867-5309. If they ask a name to confirm the account, say "Jenny." It's a fairly old reference to a somewhat...

            For any rewards programs that use phone numbers for identification, try (area code) 867-5309. If they ask a name to confirm the account, say "Jenny."

            It's a fairly old reference to a somewhat obscure song, but I've never encountered a store customer rewards program where someone else hasn't already registered that number. In my experience it's worked every single time, and it's fairly rare for them to ask me "And you name is?", to which I reply as a big bearded man, "Jenny."

            4 votes
            1. tomf
              Link Parent
              haha. You should rotate nationalities. "oh, it's a traditional Siberian name..."

              haha. You should rotate nationalities. "oh, it's a traditional Siberian name..."

              1 vote
          2. Weldawadyathink
            Link Parent
            xxx 8675309 also works for pretty much every area code and store. It should be easy to remember too.

            xxx 8675309 also works for pretty much every area code and store. It should be easy to remember too.

            2 votes
    3. [3]
      mrbig
      Link Parent
      The ticket used here in Brazil is actually a piece of plastic that you hold in your hands. In many places it merely contains a printed number code in which the employees register everything you...

      The ticket used here in Brazil is actually a piece of plastic that you hold in your hands. In many places it merely contains a printed number code in which the employees register everything you consume inside the store. Others use barcodes, but it's the same principle. Just plastic with something to identifying it.

      When you go to the cash register, they either type in your number or scan the barcode to access your purchases.

      Pretty simple actually, no smartphone required.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        Oh. Well at least that doesn't have the privacy implications of an app. That's slightly better. What if the gate worked properly and gave you an electronic ticket when it was supposed to (without...

        Oh. Well at least that doesn't have the privacy implications of an app. That's slightly better.

        What if the gate worked properly and gave you an electronic ticket when it was supposed to (without an employee helping)? Would that change your opinion of this new purchasing method?

        3 votes
        1. mrbig
          Link Parent
          Yes, it would partially change my opinion. It would certainly be better, although still unnecessary IMHO. Quoting myself from another comment:

          What if the gate worked properly and gave you an electronic ticket when it was supposed to (without an employee helping)? Would that change your opinion of this new purchasing method?

          Yes, it would partially change my opinion. It would certainly be better, although still unnecessary IMHO. Quoting myself from another comment:

          even if everything worked without a hitch, I would still be less motivated to enter the store just because I must register myself in. Impulse buys are an important source of revenue, and anything that goes against this consumer behavior will impact the store.

          3 votes
    4. [3]
      ali
      Link Parent
      I also dislike the trend of most technology just being there to advertise to us. But I would still get those apps because I think it does save a lot of time not having to queue up

      I also dislike the trend of most technology just being there to advertise to us. But I would still get those apps because I think it does save a lot of time not having to queue up

      3 votes
      1. Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        So you're happy to trade privacy for convenience. That's fine, as long as it's your choice. I dread the day when a supermarket expects me to use their app. I hope it always remains optional.

        So you're happy to trade privacy for convenience.

        That's fine, as long as it's your choice. I dread the day when a supermarket expects me to use their app. I hope it always remains optional.

        9 votes
      2. [2]
        Comment deleted by author
        Link Parent
        1. ali
          Link Parent
          I don’t see the issue, iOS apps are sandboxed and the permission the apps get are restricted by me. I’m sure the store can find out my name and other info just by paying by card, too? So...

          I don’t see the issue, iOS apps are sandboxed and the permission the apps get are restricted by me. I’m sure the store can find out my name and other info just by paying by card, too? So additionally I think paying with Apple Pay should reduce that amount of information I give away.

          2 votes
  2. [3]
    Comment deleted by author
    Link
    1. [2]
      joplin
      Link Parent
      It also has long-term negative effects for the stores and the advertisers. In stores in my area, they have these little red plastic devices sticking out of some aisles. They have a small red LED...

      It also has long-term negative effects for the stores and the advertisers. In stores in my area, they have these little red plastic devices sticking out of some aisles. They have a small red LED that flashes once per second to grab your attention, and they dispense a coupon for some product that's on the shelf nearby. Sure enough, the first time I saw one, it grabbed my attention and I looked closer to see what it was. Then I realized what it was, got disgusted, and now I've trained myself to ignore things that flash or move at the grocery store. If there was some product I actually wanted that was advertised this way, they've just trained me to look away from it. It's the same as banner ads on web pages. Even before I blocked them all, anything that moved on a web page was an instant ignore. It was, "Oh that's an ad, nothing useful, and actively harmful. AVERT YOUR EYES!" So dumb.

      8 votes
      1. HanakoIsBestGirl
        Link Parent
        Ha i'm a bit like this. Whenever I see an ad (which isn't common, it's mostly billboards and stuff), I try to buy a competitors product next time I need to buy that thing. It's silly and would...

        Ha i'm a bit like this. Whenever I see an ad (which isn't common, it's mostly billboards and stuff), I try to buy a competitors product next time I need to buy that thing. It's silly and would have no noticeable effect, but it helps me feel a bit cheeky and smug. Like I'm immune to the advertising or something. Idk.

        3 votes
  3. [7]
    Moonchild
    Link
    I think there may be such a thing as too much technology, but I don't think you've made a good argument for that. Everything can be implemented badly, that doesn't mean the whole concept is bunk.

    I think there may be such a thing as too much technology, but I don't think you've made a good argument for that. Everything can be implemented badly, that doesn't mean the whole concept is bunk.

    8 votes
    1. mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      And to be perfectly clear: even if everything worked without a hitch, I would still be less motivated to enter the store just because I must register myself in. Impulse buys are an important...

      And to be perfectly clear: even if everything worked without a hitch, I would still be less motivated to enter the store just because I must register myself in. Impulse buys are an important source of revenue, and anything that goes against this consumer behavior will impact the store.

      6 votes
    2. [5]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Sure. But the goal of a technique is to mitigate or solve a problem. When there is no problem to be solved, the odds of a solution being actually useful are greatly diminished. That is what I...

      Sure. But the goal of a technique is to mitigate or solve a problem. When there is no problem to be solved, the odds of a solution being actually useful are greatly diminished. That is what I think happened in the case at hand: a small store in a good neighborhood implements a solution for a problem it does not have and ends up introducing entirely new ones.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        skybrian
        Link Parent
        What problem do you think the gate is supposed to solve?

        What problem do you think the gate is supposed to solve?

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          In my opinion (I'm not the person you're asking), the problem the gate is solving is twofold: In the long term, it will reduce labour costs for the store by requiring fewer employees to work at...

          In my opinion (I'm not the person you're asking), the problem the gate is solving is twofold:

          • In the long term, it will reduce labour costs for the store by requiring fewer employees to work at checkouts. Customers will be able to use the electronic tickets to check themselves out automatically.

          • It will allow the store managers to track what products are usually purchased with what other products. This will enable them to lay out their store to ensure maximum walking distance between related products for customers, so they see more products to buy. This is why supermarkets put staples like bread and milk at the back of the store, rather than the front where they're more convenient for customers to grab quickly.

          In both cases, the problem being solved is a problem the store is having: high costs and ineffective marketing. There's no problem being solved for the customer.

          5 votes
          1. mrbig
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Yeah, but you can do that without the gate. The "electronic ticket" is only required because the store has a cafeteria and a restaurant, but you still have to take products from the shelves to the...

            In the long term, it will reduce labour costs for the store by requiring fewer employees to work at checkouts.

            Yeah, but you can do that without the gate. The "electronic ticket" is only required because the store has a cafeteria and a restaurant, but you still have to take products from the shelves to the cash register. Other stores in my city allow you to enter and browse freely (some have a gate, but it's permanently unlocked). They'll only give you an electronic (or sometimes paper) ticket if you ask for stuff to eat inside the store. A good system in my view. But will only work for small stores in certain communities, since it can be easily abused.

            It will allow the store managers to track what products are usually purchased with what other products.

            This was already possible using a regular cash register. The only difference is that they used to use a paper ticket, but we always paid all our purchases together.

            4 votes
        2. mrbig
          Link Parent
          I have no idea. My guess is that it just came with the system some company sold them. No real rationale involved. To me, it would only make sense for a much larger store.

          I have no idea. My guess is that it just came with the system some company sold them. No real rationale involved.

          To me, it would only make sense for a much larger store.

          2 votes
  4. [6]
    BuckeyeSundae
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm curious to know why you're framing this problem as too much technology, rather than what seems to me the more obvious problem of technology that does not serve the purpose it was created for....

    I'm curious to know why you're framing this problem as too much technology, rather than what seems to me the more obvious problem of technology that does not serve the purpose it was created for. That gate seems intended to help the store better track customers and product, so that they can earn more money by both reducing lost product and by giving customers a feeling of safety. But if the technology doesn't work and employees have to hand out manual tickets, that slows the shopping process down and gives the store the image of being difficult to shop at, which reduces customers' desire to shop there. That has the opposite impact in the immediate term of what the technology was intended to achieve (i.e., more profits).

    The better question with this example is not whether we have too much technology in general, but whether a certain technology serves the purpose it was created for better than alternatives. If going without the technology serves better than using it, go without. If the technology actually helps you in the way it was designed to help, and the opportunity cost for getting access to it and using it are worth the benefit it offers, then use it. This doesn't have to be a grand statement about the holistic amount of technology in our lives so long as the process we use to decide whether to use a technology is maintained and reviewed.

    8 votes
    1. [3]
      mrbig
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Your point of view is that of a technology enthusiast or technology worker, and it's a common one on Tildes. My point of view is that of a client. In the case at hand, everything was fine before...

      Your point of view is that of a technology enthusiast or technology worker, and it's a common one on Tildes. My point of view is that of a client.

      In the case at hand, everything was fine before the addition of technology. After the system was implemented, I went much less to the store, and I hypothesize others did the same.

      So, from my point of view, the issue was adding technology that was utterly unnecessary, and if there was less technology everything would be fine. So it makes sense to say that sometimes there is such a thing as too much technology. What's the point of making logical gymnastics to make this into sometimes, a particular technology is inadequate or inefficient, requiring new interactions or the adoption of different technologies, when the former conclusion is more adequate to the case at hand?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        BuckeyeSundae
        Link Parent
        I am not sure I was clear. The question I am asking is specifically why you think the former conclusion is more adequate when it doesn't seem at all the case to me. It's a conclusion that is both...

        What's the point of making logical gymnastics to make this into sometimes, a particular technology is inadequate or inefficient, requiring new interactions or the adoption of different technologies, when the former conclusion is more adequate to the case at hand?

        I am not sure I was clear. The question I am asking is specifically why you think the former conclusion is more adequate when it doesn't seem at all the case to me. It's a conclusion that is both broader (and necessarily also harder to defend) and also much more hostile to integrating with counterpoints (and therefore harder to defend).

        In a lot of domains, not just technology, there's a general emphasis on intellectual restraint, or the idea that you don't need to kill the cow to get some calories from it. When given two statements, one more narrow and the other more broad, and there is otherwise nothing meaningfully different between them, it's more responsible to prefer the more narrow statement.

        Another way of thinking about it is that old saying of Carl Sagan's: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Now I don't think this is a particularly out there claim, but the point Sagan was making was more about the appropriate proportion that claims require for a given conclusion. The bigger the conclusion, the better the argument should be to support it. Most people don't have the time to gather that much evidence though, so the more narrow conclusions fall into the more reasonable to spend time on defending.

        So I know I can seem like I'm focusing on minutiae, and you wouldn't be the first to become irritated with my comfort in precision, but my emphasis here is all about the proportionality of the arguments in play. Like you, I don't really see much of a difference between the broader conclusion you're preferring over the more narrow one I've suggested. The only difference worth noting that I can tell is this argument about proportion.

        2 votes
        1. mrbig
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          I believe you are using a criteria that is way more rigorous than my OP requires. What I wrote was basically a rant. Carl Sagan comes from a scientific standpoint. My observations are nothing more...

          I believe you are using a criteria that is way more rigorous than my OP requires. What I wrote was basically a rant. Carl Sagan comes from a scientific standpoint. My observations are nothing more than a personal impression, and I did not intend for them to be taken as anything more than that. There is obviously insufficient proof for my conclusion because my conclusion is nothing more than a guess.

          1 vote
    2. [2]
      elcuello
      Link Parent
      I think it's much more important to be critical about what the actual purpose is for a product or technology. Not specifically this example but in general. I think it's naive to think "Ahh, it's...

      I'm curious to know why you're framing this problem as too much technology, rather than what seems to me the more obvious problem of technology that does not serve the purpose it was created for.

      I think it's much more important to be critical about what the actual purpose is for a product or technology. Not specifically this example but in general. I think it's naive to think "Ahh, it's just in the try out phase" or "We just need to get used to it". No. I do not trust anything coming from commercial interests no matter how great or innocent they make it sound. This may sound over the top but for far too long the "shoulder shrug response" have been imposed upon us and we've been saturated to don't care because it's for our own good.

      If going without the technology serves better than using it, go without.

      There's going to be a time in the near future when this is not an option so this response is on the verge of being annoying and downright ignorant.

      1 vote
  5. Macil
    Link
    It sounds like a cheap implementation of something like what Amazon Go stores have. At an Amazon Go store, you scan a QR code on an app on your phone to get in, and then you can pick up anything...

    It sounds like a cheap implementation of something like what Amazon Go stores have. At an Amazon Go store, you scan a QR code on an app on your phone to get in, and then you can pick up anything you want and just walk out the door when you're done. Cameras track you and what you grab in the store.

    I love it. No more waiting in checkout lines. I guess the benefit is that it's dependable and hard to mess up using. You can't get in until you've done the thing right, and there's no complex pairing process between your phone and the scanner: a visual QR code that you can see yourself is pretty reliable and easy to confirm you've got your end working before you scan it.