Technology should serve us, not boss us around


Originally published at:


Technology should serve us, not boss us around

Boy do I wish that were true…


I’m going to show this article to my microwave the next time it starts flashing “PRESS START” at me.

Fuck you, microwave! Don’t tell me what to do! I’m the human; you’re my microwave. You do what I tell you to do, not the other way around!



That sounds like a recipe for ROBO-SLAVERY.


In my career of writing code I have always had a user focused mindset. a “Lets help the user do what they want” vs “Lets code it this way because it is easy or marketing says so”. Sometimes though that ideal can be tough. Like complex actions via bulk upload files. More than once it was good my office window didn’t open.



Service implies intention, which anthropomorphises binary computers. I think that it is better to consider them merely tools. If you naturally think of such things as hierarchies, you might want to check yourself.


Nice thought, but our server was down all day last Friday. (Actually, I shouldn’t complain.)


If your avatar had four more fingers up, TGParis, you could be mistaken for Spock.



Genes First! Bossy Vehicles out!

Free will is a lie!


I think Derek Zoolander put it well when he said:

“Let’s not lose our cool --then we’re no better than the machine!”


Or, at least, global robo-depression.



Money should serve us, not boss us around


These days, you should be glad I’m not prepetually holding up one particular finger.


What if you… you know… kind of like being bossed around?


Mostly it seems like the machines are a proxy for the programmers, who claim to be serving the user with their ventriloquist voice. Except when things go wrong. Suddenly it’s no longer their computer, it’s your computer.


I can only make the microwave work by pressing random buttons.


I certainly don’t deny that some systems are just plain broken in horrible ways that serve nobody; but in all but the most egregious cases this seems like less of a “technology isn’t serving us” problem and more of a “technology is serving some of us just fine; and they are using it to boss the rest of us around more efficiently” problem.

When you are ad impression chattels, walled garden app consumers, or algorithimically Taylorised human resources; technology bossing you around isn’t some sort of unfortunate bug or design failure. It’s what success looks like.


Money-the abstraction of wealth- is a technology. Money should be a tool to empower us, not a method of enslaving us.

The economy exists to serve human beings. Human beings do not exist to serve the economy.

There has been far too much compromise on this stuff.