UKC

/ Technology

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The Ice Doctor - on 15 Jun 2018

My last posting on here, was specifically about how everything has moved towards a technological format, our reliance on android phones, the internet, computing technology, not about pharmaceutical technology.

Do you ever think about the actual amount of control you relinquish as a result of IT. Are you aware that people in reality have fewer and fewer choices, if you do not accept the onward march of digitization, you cannot function in this world.

Think about it - if you run a business - you are at the wim of others, if the technology fails that you are reliant upon, your livelihood can be affected. Even in life, with simple debt card transactions, if a whole system fails, like they did recently for a day.

Do you think this is acceptable?

1
MikeSP - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

Yes, I think it's acceptable, I cant see a difference between the card system going down and a power cut.

Both outside your control and could close the business for the day, at least people can go to the cash machine if they can't pay on card.

Bob Kemp - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

A few quick musings: First, it's useful to compare the situation now with the situation prior to widespread adoption of digital technologies. How much control did you actually have in the face of the previously dominant hierarchical bureaucratic systems?

To take one case, you mention banking system failures. At one time it was only possible to get to a bank within very limited hours. You couldn't see anyone helpful without prior appointment, and you couldn't even get a balance without physically going into a branch. If your working conditions were fairly strict, as most were, this was virtually impossible. I can remember working out of town and having a half-hour lunch break. I could not get to my bank without taking a half-day's leave. Not much control there. Now I have control over a range of banking information and transactions that I never had before.

What we seem to have done is to have made a set of trade-offs between convenience and end-user power and the risk of large-scale catastrophe. At the moment the risks seem relatively small. That may change as malicious acts become more common and systems complexity leads to more breakdown. 

As to acceptability, it's clearly not acceptable, but we don't live in a risk-free world. We haven't been living with these systems long though, and some risks are only just becoming apparent. I'm sure that there will be useful responses but the human element in terms of social, economic and political factors will be key. 

Post edited at 11:15
GrahamD - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

I've relied on motorised transport all my life.  I don't have a problem with this.

wintertree - on 18 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

> Are you aware that people in reality have fewer and fewer choices

Do we have fewer choices, or do our choices change?

> if you do not accept the onward march of digitization, you cannot function in this world.

Much the same could be said about past advances such as the telephone or a bank account.

> Think about it - if you run a business - you are at the wim of others, if the technology fails that you are reliant upon, your livelihood can be affected.

Almost all businesses are reliant on other technologies under your doom and gloom radar.  If there was an interruption to petroleum supply your livelihood can be affected for example.

> Do you think this is acceptable?

In general, yes.  Plenty of specific - and all to predictable - failures suggest various systems could be done better.  In general I like to see a diversity of businesses and approaches, so there isn’t a key breaking point.  It’s why I have bank accounts with two different banks with separate IT systems. Universal credit is a suitable (I can’t say nice) example of a more modern system being rolled out as a monopoly meaning no diversity and thus putting humans on the sharp end of systemic failures.

Post edited at 09:28
wintertree - on 18 Jun 2018
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> That may change as malicious acts

That’s no way to talk about senior management’s outsoricing policy with regards natwest’s legacy computer infrastructure...

 

Post edited at 09:29
krikoman - on 18 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

Electricity, never mind "technology", how reliant are we on that?

captain paranoia - on 18 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

And water supply?

Food production?

Clothing?

All rely on someone else and technology. Unless the OP is proposing we return to hunter-gatherer subsistence, in which case we'd need to cull 95% of the population, or more.

Eric9Points - on 18 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

If you think this unacceptable what do you propose as an alternative?

Flinticus - on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to Eric9Points:

Possibly a technology based on Victorian engineering...

We could go around in hot air balloons with overly complex gears and brass wings.

Steam punk...there's a nice cafe in North Berwick that takes this aesthetic and runs with it. Nice coffee so at least that's the main foundation of civilisation  taken care of.

Duncan Bourne - on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

The technology is a double edged sword.

From my illustrators stance it is absolutley a godsend. Prior to the internet or drawing programmes like Photoshop I would have to draw and ink by hand (which is nice I grant you), use lettratone for titles, add in speech bubbles by hand (usually by cut and paste), use a lot of tipex. That done I would have to go into town and visit a printers/photocopy shop to photocopy the finished piece. Then I would have to post it off to the client and pray to god that the Post office didn't lose it. If they did I had to send out the photocopy pretty damn quick. All of which meant that any artwork had to be done and finished two weeks prior to publication to allow for being lost in transit, or any corrections that needed to be made (such as the main subject of the cartoon dying the day after you post out the original). Getting new clients involved going down to places like London and trapsing around agents and newspaper offices etc. or posting out portfolios of work, then chasing them up to get back. Not to mention being paid by cheque and getting the old excuse "it's in the post." My turn around time on a piece of artwork (dependant on what) is now hours rather than weeks, communication between clients is virtually instantainious, corrections and additions can be done on the fly, the whole lot can be bundled out via Dropbox on the day of the deadline, I can work anywhere from home, I can easily deal with clients the world over and not just locally in the UK.

The only downside is the infuriating distraction of Facebook and UKC when I am trying to work ;-)

Post edited at 16:47
PM on 21 Jun 2018
In reply to The Ice Doctor:

> Even in life, with simple debt card transactions […]

Very apt typo.


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