The average user, if you can believe, continues to decline in their capacity to understand how to use the technology they find in their hands. It was once thought that this was an age thing and that newer demographics would take to digital tech with excellence, a failed prediction which I take a look at in Refuting Computer Literacy. Here are some of the factors which I blame for this decline:
I was recently illustrating some connectivity options to a curious Gen Z Joe Public, and they seemed to envision bandwidth demand in terms of the number of devices on the network without any consideration as to what those are being used for, the type of traffic or how often. Even the fact that a not-in-use device shouldn’t be sending/receiving much traffic at all was received as a mythical impossibility. Also present was their complete failure to understand the difference between latency and bandwidth.
As accessibility hand-holding increases, so too does the active pool of people who were never going to learn properly anyways. Reaching the lowest common denominator isn’t really anything new. If you’re reading these posts you likely also felt that rapid shift around 2008-2010 when mobile shartphones began enabling the masses of cattle to occupy the web en masse. And where there are masses, there is a market, in follow the corporations and their own particular brand of cancer.
Today the average, dominant portion of users are helpless if “their” device doesn’t offer them colorful Little Tykes buttons to carry out prescribed tasks. No recourse is offered to explore more deeply into a functionality or to think outside the box when tackling a problem. Their entire mode of operation is within the confines of whether big daddy CrApple/MS/Goolag will graciously allow them to. Often the processing is outsourced in some way to $BIG_COMPANY. Just cut their internet and watch them flail like a fish starving for oxygen.
At this rate, what could the future of the internet (and tech) look like?
Everything that one must do is moderated through a phone. There are no other form factors, they have been criminalized as “contraband electronics”. It is all, to the maximum extent possible, subscription based. Not only that, but these subscription SaaSS are made mandatory through their centrality to civic function. Need a building permit? I hope you have a phone and all of the prerequisite proprietary apps + network connectivity + subscriptions + digital ID… or want a marriage license, permission to travel, permission to buy certain foods? You’d better be using that Fedcoin. The fondle slab itself might resemble a brightly colored children’s toy. The icons colorfully cutified with infantilizing animated emblems - Entertainment, games, streaming, porn, lots of porn “apps”, social conditioning media. Perhaps an anthropomorphic mascot that tells you whether you’re allowed to leave your house today.
Anyone detected out in public without a shartphone (or in possession of a contraband device) will be apprehended and points deducted from their CBDC social score. “Hey Google, I am ready to issue my public apology to the governance!” to which you might hear “Return to within range of cellular signal or local law enforcement will be dispatched”. If it sounds ridiculous to us now, just consider how outlandish what we have to endure today might have seemed only a few years prior.