Are you a competent user of remote controls, computer software and the iCloud?
We’ve all felt it. The rising panic as we realise we’re being outwitted by the technology we supposedly own, and that every menu screen we flip through is probably just making matters worse.
For some of us, this is a near daily occurrence. Here are a few things you’ll understand if you're a technophobe.
1. You’re too scared to use trial and error
It’s easy to assume tech-savvy people have a sixth sense for all things electronic, but mostly, they work things out by fiddling. A tour of the program folders here, a rifle through system settings there, and eventually they’ll work it out through poking and probing.
It’s hard to tinker with confidence when you’re convinced one wrong move could start a nuclear war, or worse, send off an unintended email.
2. Things change too quickly
They say you can’t stop progress, but it can certainly stop you. Today’s tech firms are designing gadgets far faster than you can get used to them, and it’s hard to get excited about the latest household AI when you still think digital cameras are a clever idea.
One of these days, we’ll reach a sort of tech singularity, where there isn’t enough time in the human life cycle to understand all the features on the latest iPhone.
3. People can be super unsympathetic
Otherwise patient, tolerant people can be inexplicably mean when it comes to not understanding tech, as though it’s some sort of moral or intellectual failing. We’ll remember that next time they superglue their fingers together while butchering some basic DIY.
4. The instruction manuals are never helpful
We’re pretty sure that since the invention of the online search engine, the world’s instruction manual writers have started phoning it in. What were once thick leaflets filled with layman’s language are now token printouts that seem to assume you’ll find your answers online.
As anyone who’s typed ‘why can’t I connect to the internet’ into their browser bar can attest, it doesn’t always suffice.
5. You own at least one piece of tech you haven’t a clue how to use
It may have been an unwanted gift, or perhaps you overestimated your own competence, but either way, there’s now a very expensive gadget languishing in your home that you couldn’t use even if you wanted to. We recommend the charity shop. At least that will stop it sitting in the corner judging you.
6. You assume technology is all-powerful
When technology seems to be able to do everything, it’s easy to assume that it can do anything. If we can send a probe to the other side of Pluto, why can’t Google tell me where I left my keys?
7. You still need hard copies of everything
You’re not familiar with ‘the cloud’ – you’ve never been there, and it sounds more like a rubbish superhero than a data repository. Preferring printouts and hard copies may seem medieval, but you’ll be the one laughing when a giant space laser wipes out all the world’s computers like in GoldenEye.
8. We don’t have anger issues, we promise
When the table tilts, you can get out the toolbox, and when your car doesn’t start, you can open the bonnet. But when your electronics fail, you feel infuriatingly powerless. No, we don’t know how the desktop ended up at the bottom of the fishpond. Maybe it tripped.
9. The pandemic has forced your hand
You’re that relative – the one who only takes selfies by accident, who jabs their touchscreen as if they’re squashing a fly, who still greets video calls with a live stream of their ceiling. Every Zoom call is divided into two – 20 minutes of talking, and 20 minutes teaching you about the mute button.
How do you feel about ever-changing technology? Do you embrace it or wish it would slow down a little?
– With PA
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