Whatever their failings, machines generally don’t second-guess you. Turn them on, turn them off. Point them in a certain direction. Command them to move or spin or do whatever it is they were made to do and – assuming they are not broken – they will usually do it.
And won’t try to nudge you to do what they think is best.
Electronic gadgets, on the other hand . . . .
They pre-empt and nudge. Do things you didn’t ask them to – and won’t do things you want them to. They turn on – and off- at random, according to their own lights. They are not broken, either.
Which means, of course, they can’t be fixed.
They seem to literally have a mind of their own – and in a very real sense, they do. They are programmed to guess/intuit/anticipate your needs – whether you need them to or not.
It is like having an insolent intern or personal assistant who is useful to you in some ways but an aneurism-inducing aggravation in other ways. And unlike the intern or PA – whom you can fire and replace with a more deferential one who actually does do what you ask without giving you lip or funny looks or unsanctioned advice – and doesn’t do things you didn’t ask them to – electronic gadgets are pretty much all the same. In particular, their annoying penchant to pre-empt; to nudge you along certain pathways of the software’s – that is, the programmer’s – choosing.
Always because the programmer has decided it’s good for you.
To – in a very real way – parent you.
It most definitely isn’t a master-servant relationship, as it ought to be. As it was, with machines.
And it is spreading.
Apple announced the other day that the next iPhone will lock you out whenever your car is moving. No texting, either…