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  • News

COMMENT: Technology no substitute for human interaction

Monday, 21st October, 2019 12:00am

Story by Tony McCullagh
COMMENT: Technology no substitute for human interaction

Modern technology can drive you crazy. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

COMMENT: Technology no substitute for human interaction

Modern technology can drive you crazy. PHOTO: BIGSTOCK

THERE’S a headline on a recent story posted by the satirical website, Waterford Whispers News, which reads: ‘Average Adults Spends Four Years of Their Life Trying to Remember Passwords’.

For me, this certainly is a case of being funny because it’s true. I had spent most of the preceding week at war with technology and found myself on the losing side of the battle. These days, the purchase of any device means entering a world of lost passwords and apps that won’t download properly because your smartphone just isn’t smart enough anymore.

Many apps on my iPhone no longer function because I’m not using the most up to date operating system. The problem is, there isn’t enough memory left on my phone for the update so I’m caught between having to delete almost everything on my phone or trying to free up space.

It first happened with a health insurance app, which wasn’t the end of the world as I only use it occasionally. Far more serious was the hassle caused by AIB updating its user authentication procedure, which required the latest version of an app that wouldn’t download on my creaky old phone. Fearing I would be locked out of internet banking, which I log onto several times a week, I decided to call the bank’s customer service centre.

This took quite a while as I had to be prompted by an automated voice multiple times before I got put through to an actual human. Thankfully, there is a workaround to my ancient phone dilemma, which requires a code being send to me by text any time I want to use online banking. It’s far from ideal but better than having to spend hundreds of euro on a new smartphone.

In the very same week, the purchase of a new gaming console by one of my kids led to a brain-melting search for lost passwords and deleted accounts. The levels of frustration reached fever pitch as our pleas for help largely fell on deaf ears, with emails either ignored or answered by robots. And in case you’re wondering: yes, we did try turning it off and back on again!

Life really has become a daily chore of trying to remember login names and passwords. Even when you go into a bank, you are lucky if you get to speak to a real person, unless they are there to nudge you towards the self-service machine. I’m starting to suspect that they don’t really want us there.

I was once a fan of modern technology but am now getting nostalgic for the good old days when life was less complicated and you could rely on the kindness of strangers to help you out of a bind.

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