Computers do what we tell them to, except when we give up

We tell ourselves, “a computer only does what we tell it to.” But, when it comes down to it, if we aren’t getting the result we want out of the computer, we often give in and do whatever it is the computer wants us to do.

I’m fascinated by this phenomenon. Novices do it when they’re confused, even a little afraid they may have done something wrong. Experts do it when they’re frustrated and upset that the computer is preventing them from doing whatever it is they actually wanted to do.

What’s it say about our increasingly dependent relationship with computers? At what point do we give up on our own goal and do what the computer wants so we can make progress? Is it really computers we’re giving into, or the dysfunction of the relationship between the designer, developer and the user of a computer?

A maxim you could conduct your modern life by: beware technologists bearing a solution, lest it become another chore you have to tend to.

Adam Keys @therealadam