May
30
1999

The PC Will Give Us More Free Time, Right?

Categories: Life, Technology, The Web, Work

It was believed that computers would give people more free time by making mundane tasks more efficient. We would all be lounging around, sipping our martinis, while computers made our lives easier.

That hasn’t exactly happened, has it? Instead, we’ve become slaves to the clock.

Computers have allowed secretaries the ability to write memos faster, so we expect secretaries to be able to write twice the number of memos now.

Computers have allowed engineers the ability to process complex calculations faster, so we expect engineers to develop twice the number of applications now.

Computers have allowed designers the ability to render images faster, so we expect designers to create twice the number of illustrations now.

This has crept into all other aspects of life too. Faxes make us expect letters sooner. Where it used to take a week for a letter to get to a person can now take seconds. So instead of changing our lives to enjoy that new time that we’ve earned, it’s changed our lives to expect everything delivered in a millisecond.

The web is a perfect example. People used to sit and patiently wait for a book to arrive in the mail, then to sit and patiently read the book and enjoy each and every page. Now people are rushing through each web page impatiently, bypassing everything that does not come to their screen under a second.

Have computers really given us more free time? Or have they made us a more rushed society?

And what’s taking my microwave so damn long? I’ve been waiting for that pizza for a whole minute now!

. . .

Do you have a lot of free time?

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