Thursday, 10 May 2012

Blip: Arrogant Confusion


“Click”, other than being a rather pleasing onomatopoeia representing, to some, the activation of a much loved device such as a vinyl player, game boy (accompanied by an electronic ‘Ping!’) or Sega master system, is also a behind-the-times BBC programme that desperately tries to educate us all on modern technology without coming across as ignorant or arrogant, ultimately, though, it fails in both regards. 

I’m not wasting this post reviewing this flash-in-the-pan-glorifying, utterly blind and otherwise worthless programme. Instead I am responding to something that I heard said on the aforementioned idiot fest only the other day; a “reporter”, for lack of a more fitting term for the snake oil peddling morons that run “Click”, was asking a limited and empty question: “Why does our tech seem to stop working when we’ve done nothing wrong?”, to which a technician replies “confusion”. 

The technician eventually expands on his point and goes in to more depth about how filling modern pieces of technology with even more newly coded ‘apps’ and software while expecting it to be run efficiently and smoothly despite the limits of the circuitry and all of the clashes and delays involved is putting too much strain on said tech, causing them to stall or crash altogether. In fact this places blame squarely in your hands so you have done something wrong but let’s move on. 

My concern, however, is with the pseudo-reporter’s initial response to his answer: After an over-emphatic “Really?” she continued with “Beautifully designed, well-constructed, mass manufactured, hi-tech devices are susceptible to the purely human flaw of confusion?” Hopefully I don’t need to explain what’s so deplorable about this comment that I can stop writing here and we can all bask in the warm glow of the egocentric arrogance that spawned such an impenitent string of words.

Naturally, though, by my writing of this post so far it is clear I intend to expand on my disgust anyway. I think I’ll simply move through the comment and tear it down word by word:

-“Beautifully designed”: Rhetorical nonsense, are we supposed to believe the beauty of a device improves its performance. (This part was said over a montage of Iphone covers to illustrate its already strained point.)

-“Well-constructed”: Perhaps some of the handheld devices are less flimsy than others but again that doesn’t attest to its software capabilities, only to its durability upon being dropped onto the pavement by a greasy-fingered, kebab-eating drunk while ineffectually pawing at the “beautifully designed” screen.

-“Mass manufactured”: Now is where it starts to decline, somehow. The tremendously backwards thing about this is that the claim being made is that mass manufacturing doesn’t compromise the quality of the product but instead improves it. Surely that’s one of the most absurd things I’ve heard recently, mass manufacturing reduces quality across the board, instead prioritising speed and production costs to increase market hold and profit yield. 

-“hi-tech devices”: They are only hi-tech by the standards against which you measure them. A mini-disc is hi-tech compared to a vinyl and a vinyl is hi-tech compared to a sun dial, which says nothing about their working prowess. This sentiment is just arrogance masturbation attempting to celebrate our bloated opinions of ourselves for making such fantastic products as a screen that looks like a piece of paper that you can use a pen-like implement to write on in a low resolution copy of handwriting. Cynics would say that pen and paper isn’t a new invention but there you go. 

-“Purely human flaw of confusion”: This is the very worst of this already childish and slightly Freudian comment of insecurity. How terrible and self-absorbed it is to believe that confusion exists only for humans; what would you call it when a rabbit comes across a particularly bright light and it stumbles around for a moment, readjusting to its surroundings? How about when any algorithmic system, whether executed by a biomechanical device, like a brain or rudimentary nervous system, or by a piece synthetic computing equipment like an abacus or a microchip suffers a degree of delay, an outright stall or a whole breakdown of order or priority? Confusion, perhaps?

This does come from a show that still treats 3D technology like it just came out and, despite its best efforts, still fails miserably when it tries to get a handle on internet culture. Every true internet-using folk understands that the heart of the internet lies in the forums, the chatrooms, the areas that allows and encourages discussion in a dark and protected way; the internet spawned wonders such as Minecraft, Guild Wars and 4chan (and related columns of degradation). “Click” continues to stay up-to-date with the beating heart of the internet by showing month old youtube videos that are ground breaking because they managed a million views so I wouldn’t give this comment too much weight. 

The ramblings of the mad should be ostracised with the same degree of apathy as the mad themselves. 

Blip (Sig)

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