Prisoners of Technology

Young people today may be the true heirs of the information age.  They were born with the sum total of the world’s accumulated information and opinion in their pockets, instantly accessible on phones so smart they can anticipate what we want to know.   Those born with this amazing power feel they are the best informed generation in history.   Maybe they are.  

The great educational innovator Sugata Mitra claims that students no longer need to memorize long lists of dates, famous names, salient facts etc. since everything of that sort can be found instantly on-line.   I’m no longer so convinced on this particular point by the extremely convincing Mr. Mitra, though I am a big fan of his theories of how we learn, how we are born wanting to learn.

As others have pointed out, what happens to the holder of the sum total of the world’s acquired information when your phone is out of battery life, if the power grid or internet goes down, in the event of a large scale emergency where smart phones no longer operate?   We are dependent on technology to an extent never before seen in the ravaging reign of homo sapiens, the earth’s apex predator and determined destroyers of our own habitat, if there is enough money to be made doing so (and, to be honest, even if not).

I’m just bitchy because my expensive new phone is messed up.   A month ago it was near an open window during a rain storm.    It didn’t get wet, but was exposed to 100% humidity.   It would not charge after that, giving me a shrill warning to immediately disconnect it–  “moisture has been detected!”.   Fortunately, it could be charged on a wireless dock.   Another popup message a few days later informed me that it could take some time for the detected moisture to disappear.   Now it is a month.  

Last Saturday a technician at Best Buy, a nice fellow named Curtis, fixed the phone, it was able to take a charging cable.  He reset something, told me there was a problem with the sensor in this model of Samsung phone I have.   I was able to charge it with a cable.  Once.  Now it again warns me that I will do permanent damage to the phone, void the warranty, cancel my insurance policy, etc. if I leave it connected to a charging cable.

Customer service is no longer something we can expect just because we are customers.  The world is now way too smart for that.   That’s where our smartphone comes in, it helps us figure out how to get customer service.   Who knew the Samsung guy at Best Buy was my best bet?

I discovered, after Curtis didn’t fix it, that there is a Samsung store at 837 Washington Street, not hard for me to get to.   I can use my smartphone to make an appointment to see a brilliant technician there.   They can tell me how foolish I was not to back up the 3,000 photos randomly and without warning deleted from my phone a few weeks ago.   They can point me to the Android to Mac program I need to download on to my laptop so I can save data from an Android to an Apple computer.   Hopefully they can also fix the phone and allow me to charge it with a cable so I don’t have to keep my friend waiting another hour for lunch while the phone gets a trickle of a charge on the wireless dock.  Last I checked it was up to 61%.   Could be 70% by now…

Hopefully the insurance I pay every month will cover this repair of a very expensive phone and the $175 “deductible” won’t kick in.   Hopefully.

Look around and think about that “hopefully”.


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