Theory : The incorportion of new technologies into everyday
life is making society more error-tolerant
cost of making a mistake these days is smaller than it used
to be. We are so accustomed to easily fixing small mistakes,
we don't get as concerned when they pop up now and again.
So we're becoming less careful and more error-prone.
the days of Smith-Corona, a typo required you to get out something
to correct your mistake. If you were lucky, you would have
correction tape or paper, which, with little effort, would
allow you to resume typing within a minute or so. If you were
less lucky, you'd have correction fluid, which would necesitate
a great deal of shaking, blowing, waiting and, if you were
impatient, scraping of paper, cleaning of ribbon, shaking
reapplying and waiting again.
took the time to think and type carefully and thoughtfully.
Because one or two stray fingers could really slow you down.
computer then brought us a little miracle we soon could not
live without: the delete key. Making a mistake was not such
a big deal. You could simply go back and erase from memory
the mis-type you made. In a fraction of a second, your error
was gone, with no evidence of it ever having occurred.
came another miracle: the undo function. This let you correct
the correction you made. Then spellcheck -- great if you take
the time to actually pay attention to the corrections it is
cellphones and many standard phones today, if you key in the
phone number and mis-press a number, you simply backspace
and try again until you have the entire phone number correct.
Then and only then do you assert that you have mastered the
skill of dialling a number by confirming you wish to be connected.
Other phones have a display to show you the number as you
dial it - handy for those who are prone to suddenly forgetting
what on earth they are doing. If you find yourself grasping
a receiver in one hand and your other hand pointedly poised
over the keypad, just look at the display "oh yes...I
must be calling someone in Toronto...I've already pressed
should be obvious to all now that my inner crumudgeon id blossoming
a few years too soon. But in case it wasn't clear... I have
my parents' original rotary phone from back in the day. It
still works. If I go to call someone and accidentally dial
the last digit of their number incorrectly, I have to hang
the phone up and start all over again. At one time I had the
capacity to hold in my mind up to 10 digits at once.
I once had faith in my ability to dial. Now modern conveniences
have hobbled my brain.
every place I have worked, I have seen the volume of work
per person skyrocket, along with the tolerance for errors.
The repetitive conditioning of backspacing and reprinting
has made people not think twice when they make a mistake.
Sure, there may be great gnashing of teeth upon first noticing
the error, but the remorse passes swiftly, and the cogs continue