Wow a community for ranting. Sign me up.
I'm feeling somewhat triggered, at an increasing rate, about technology. And I don't mean the pervasive attack on privacy and AI tech destroying our very souls in exchange for more ad revenue. Nor am I talking about electric cars being worse than Gas ones or whatever.
I mean technology that people, companies, buildings etc. all insist on implementing for no reason other than to seem modern, futuristic, cool. with it.
There is an underlying malevolence there for sure - almost entirely relating to increased ad revenue - but I'm mostly triggered by its pure incompetence, and the more you think about it, the more depressing it truly becomes.
Let me give two examples:
I used to live on the second floor of an old building where I could get in and out in roughly 4 seconds. Since then I've upgraded to a posh, 13th floor room in a big 31-story building.
The problems first arose when we had difficulty actually viewing the apartment before renting it out. We literally couldn't get up the elevators with the agent, because her face is not registered as a living tenant into the facial recognition elevators.
In order for any guest to use the building, they had to go to a guard in the lobby IF they were there, and if not, go find one and bring them back, fill in your name, phone number, ID number, date? and then when approved, the guard takes you to the elevator, scans his own face and lets you in.
Thinking not too much about it, we signed up and got our faces registered at a nearby office. Naturally being a white guy in China, it seems their AI hadn't really accounted for it, and 9/10 times, my face can't be recognized. Meanwhile, Chinese get recognition even with their masks on.
So most days of the week I'm trying to go home, I'm in the elevator with 2 or 3 people behind me, impatiently waiting for me to mess around getting rejected by this scanning machine. Eventually after moving my hair and rotating my face, it gets me, and everyone else gets in. Or not, as sometimes the door closes and just goes on without them after waiting so long for me.
So that's cool. Forgive me if I am remembering wrong but I seem to remember a time when I could enter the elevator and then press a button which magically launches me to the desired f***ing floor. I dunno maybe it's just me but I feel like that's a working system.
I'm not alone of course. I have witnessed this same trouble happen to a LOT of people, and heard their frequent complains about how dumb this whole thing is, as the elevators goes past their own floor before they even manage to scan their faces properly.
So, everyone agrees it's stupid, less convenient, pointless, a waste of time, money and resources, increases the likelihood of breakage, errors and shutdowns, and yet here we are, using the system anyway because oooo it's modern and rich people want to seem wealthy and elite.
What's the point in being elite and wealthy if you can't get in your fricking ant-hive little mansion of glass?
I can understand if people want security, but every other building managed this without the need for facial recognition. How about a door with a password into the building, then people can use the elevators how they see fit?
The Nightmare at KFC
The other day, I was running extremely low on energy due to a previous gym effort so I had to stop at a KFC to recharge before I could make it home. I really really wanted a wrap to get me through.
But no. Instead of living up to its name as a 'fast food' chain, they decided slow food was more convenient somehow.
Back in the day, you would approach the counter, point to or say what you want, and hand over money. The whole exchange might have taken you about 4-6 seconds if you knew what you wanted.
Not satisfied with that, every fast food joint decided to instead install touch screen panels where you have to click several buttons before accessing the menu, which forces you to scroll through at least half of it 2-3 times to get to the items you want each time. You find yourself lost frequently as you're not sure which category various things go into.
You have to be shown other suggestions and size option menus and eventually pay with a QR code. So you open up, unlock your phone, open your app, go to the payment section, QR code, load that up, and then scan it.
The machine, more often than not, wouldn't work. And we've seen this not only happen to us, both our phones, but to others too. After 3 failed attempts it tells you to go to the staff at the counter, who then do it for you in about 3 seconds. Great. Very convenient.
But not convenient enough!
I hear you say. We need to slow this process riiiiiight down. So they have now gotten rid of the touch panels and instead hired a single staff member to stand at the counter and inform you as you enter the restaurant to scan a code to access a mini-program in whatever app you're using.
So now you have to have a phone ready and charged, connected online of course. You unlock your phone, open the app scan the code, load up the mini-app. You are met with an onslaught of advertisements you desperately try clicking out of as fast as possible. I'm here struggling with my extreme hunger and energy deficiency. The lady is pointing and informing me what I'm supposed to do.
Next comes permissions. So I have to go out of there into the permission menu, accept and approve that they can access all my personal videos and passwords or whatever, then go back to the mini app. Then I have to input my phone number, get a verification code, dial it in and press OK. Another ad pops up, then the menu is there and I'm good to go.
So I scroll through the stuff I don't want until I find the wrap I wanted, select it, press ok, order. pay. The app then connects with my payment app, I put my fingerprint in because why not, and then I've paid. Of course, the lady insists that I pay attention to the final screen which is the 'review' screen which she promptly presses for me - 5 stars.
I sit down and wait, and after a nightmarish, 5-minute ordeal, I finally eat for 20 seconds and then head home, vowing never to enter a KFC again in my life.
The Frog in the Pot
What are we doing? TikTok and Toxic Twitter Twats are Torturous enough and a hellish scourge on our society, but do we honestly need to put the Cherry of Doom on top of this cake of crap and make our society run objectively worse and more slowly, just so we can be forcefully exposed to more ads?
Movies like the Fifth Element are meant to be society warnings on what NOT to become. Not something to fricking aspire to!
Flying cars are absolute trash conceptually, stop dreaming of the day it'll happen. Elevators don't need face scanning technology. Yeah we know it exists, no need to show it off. Ordering food shouldn't take 78 steps to accomplish.
These might seem like silly little things. But Consider this. Here in China, most buildings have had all entrances blocked but one main entrance. So the design of convenient entry has been removed. This is to control the Zero-covid policy we suffer here every day. I have no rights to enter my own home without first showing my Green code, essentially a license to enter my own home.
I've moaned enough about that but the point is, I have to take quite a detour from the metro station now to enter my compound. A few minutes doesn't seem like much, but a few minutes over a year is a lot of hours. Multiply that over an entire society and you've got thousands of years of tiny slices of time shaved off our collective lives.
This is not making life more convenient. This is sapping away life in such small increments nobody really pays attention to. But when you add the compound entrances, the KFC, the face scans, the QR codes, and all the other incremental inconveniences being added to our lives for the sake of being a modern society, and we're looking at potentially years of lost life per person. Like a frog being slowly boiled, none of us even notice.
Well I noticed. And I won't stand for it!
...Actually that's a lie. I'm not going to do anything about it other than complain because I'm somewhat powerless to change it. For now.
If I ever become viral and boosted into a political seat of power, where my voice is heard and appreciated by millions enough for me to become British PM, you can bet your arse the first thing in my manifesto, in bold, capital letters: Absolute Ban on Facial Recognition Elevators.
Now that's a winning formula.