Saturday, March 30, 2019

Cult of Efficiency


We lust after it. We now have a handful of people defining the experience of many on social media platforms. Reddit has less than 500 paid employees (but thousands of volunteers.) Other platforms also have small, giggling gaggles of employees defining the user experience.

Coders create the environment where technology devotees live. For the sake of efficiency, we cede our information curation to a handful of coders. Voice AI offers only one verbal response. Efficient but scary.

Efficiency and autonomy seem to battle. When ostensibly wise coders and AI prompt recommended language and succinct answers, we forfeit something – but it isn’t our time. We seem to gain time with this added “efficiency”. But we must recognize that language is also a technology too and does not provide some absolute freedom of expression.

We are also overwhelmed with information. Although we ask AI and the coders behind it to ease our environment, the cascading flow of bad news in front of our eyes makes us assuage our guilt by claiming some type of victim status.

Therefore we sometimes need to take a walk in the woods and draw something with a pencil. We need to use our extra time wisely. Maybe efficiency needs to be redefined. I basically never proof read emails or messages, I trust Google with my information curation, I sometimes used recommended responses on texts. I have been sucked into the lust of efficiency. I love it. I can get so much done so quickly.

Rambling words don’t counter my tendency towards using the highest efficiency systems possible. I look at every physical and virtual system and think about optimizing its efficiency. I can’t help myself. But I observe the danger of efficiency and try to design wonderful things with my free time. Sometimes I just watch YouTube “how it’s made” videos and eat chocolate too. C’est la vie.