Almost everyone will be familiar with such nudges. ‘Calls to Action’ they might be called even though they are never requested by us, the little guy.
Unsolicited requests or commands from the world’s most powerful corporations on whom our lives are increasingly dependent. We carry their devices with us at all times. We don’t go anywhere without them. Even to the toilet as we squat and scroll, in bed when we sleep. On our laps as we drive…
“Where’s my phone? Someone ring my phone. I can’t find my phone…”
And at what cost I wonder? No one can accurately audit this but who cares eh? As long as we remain connected and plugged in.
You know the type…
“An update is available…”
Personally, I am not big on updates, so I roll my eyes.
‘No thanks Mr Apple, I’m good. My phone is working fine. Currently, it does everything I need it to, so I’m all good.’
If it aint broke… as the saying goes.
Plus I am not remotely concerned if my phone or computer is running with less capability than its potential. Its plenty fast enough already, plus I only use a fraction of its capacity anyway. It is fondly quoted that the modern iPhone has more capability than the computers used to get Tom Hanks home safely in Apollo 13. I can’t speak for everyone on this but I have a modern iPhone and I have never considered using it to take me to the moon.
Furthermore, my refusing to update is my little protest. My push back against the Californian tech billionaires and their phalanx of lawyers who know their terms and conditions are never read.
But what a futile gesture this is. We blithely sign their T&C’s and I have never refused any of their cookies. I click yes because life is too short. And how clever calling them ‘cookies’ because who doesn’t like a cookie?
But what opportunities we are presenting to companies as we click ‘Accept All’ without any reckoning to what exactly we are accepting.
With this in mind I am aghast that people have Alexa in their homes. People either so lazy that they can’t be arsed to turn on the radio or so trusting of these tech billionaires – like Bond villains in baseball caps and flip flops.
Jeff Bezoz has made himself the world’s shopkeeper and good for him because this is some feat. The only retailer that stocks absolutely everything: sex toys (apparently!), BBQ’s, rivets, cuddly toys, icing machines… and books of course.
As a writer, I should really be grateful because how else am I getting my stories out there? But I would never allow Jeff and his cronies to place a listening device in Chez Holland – making us sitting ducks for the marketeers to take aim at.
But for all this reticence, something happened to me when my phone recently announced an ‘update’ because immediately I complied. Maybe because I’d heard that updated phones are harder to hack but as likely that I am tired of resisting the tech-tide.
So I did as I was told. I clicked YES and AGREE and my phone took over and began doing all manner of things. Screens came and went. And finally my phone switched itself OFF – not easily done with an iPhone.
And while this update played out, I felt a degree of relief and some pride; that my phone would have the latest software. But any smugness was soon expunged when my phone came back to life because everything is different now. Apps I used to access with abandon are now lost to me. Even my ‘Explorer’ refuses to open without a password.
And this is an update!
With this, my tech anxiety ratchets up a little more. My phone has become less useful and with everything I clicked and agreed to, I wonder what else I have ceded to the tech giants. I can’t use Explorer but no doubt, they can. Maybe they can explore through my home, my inbox and even my own mind? – which to be fair shouldn’t occupy them for too long.
Never before have so few people controlled so many. These individuals wield staggering power and with the tacit approval of politicians – their careers too often little more than job interviews/auditions for their lucrative careers ahead.
Our ex-deputy PM – railed against big tech and specifically FB – and now runs Meta – his political principles forgotten but his rolodex and influence intact – an equation worth many millions to him, no doubt.
And yet I am fully signed up to all of these platforms, hoping that people will read my blog, visits my website/s, find my books, my tweets, my FB posts, listen and watch my podcasts… none of which are available without this very technology.
The worst fate for a writer is the opposite of what a lawyer wants. A lawyer hopes their contracts and T & C’s will not be read by anyone. This is death for a writer and why I am grateful for the tech billionaires but distrusting of them in equal measure.
A marriage of convenience then – which I figure applies to most of us out there, trying to figure their shit out and hoping for the best.