How do we get out of this mess?
by James H. Kunstler, Peak Prosperity:
The diminishing returns of technology are insidious and they are ever with us. By this I mean the slow erosion of the quality of life, despite the impression that technological wonders only make our lives better.
We’ve Become A Society of Self-Deluded Children
The most obvious example is what happened to the telephone over the past thirty years. We computerized every phone system in America to “improve communications.” The net effect is that after all that time and expense (billions of capital investment) it is now nearly impossible to get a live human being on the phone, whether you are calling a Fortune 500 corporation, a non-profit charity, or your best friend. Has that improved communication? What you get instead are robots that waste big chunks of your time forcing you to listen to complex call-routing menus – often ending in futility.
Companies and institutions assume that they benefit from the “efficiency” of not having to pay gangs of human receptionists. But they only succeed in pissing off their customers and clients, who are treated as pests, to be avoided. In effect, phone systems became firewalls, not communication enhancers.
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