Despite that seemingly irrefutable law that sits alongside Moore’s Law, Murphy’s Law, or Parkinson’s Law, Intel’s Andy Grove had another, perhaps less well known, but one that describes humanity in the 21st century.
One can argue without argument that life today is complicated and becoming more so. Complexity is everywhere. Even the Mac, which made point-and-click the modus operandi of personal computers, does far more than anyone except perhaps Steve Jobs envisioned back when it launched in 1984.
True, there is no Big Brother from 1984 in 2018, but instead we have many Big Brothers scouring our personal information to set the stage for ever more sales campaigns aimed at our psyche. Remember the iTunes Music Store from not quite two decades ago? Today, music listeners can stream 40-million tunes over iPhone, iPad, HomePod, and other devices. Remember when television and radio was limited to a half dozen or so stations?
Look around. What do you see? Cable TV offers 500 channels and there still isn’t anything worthwhile to watch. Apple TV promised to bring the world of streaming video to the home screen and instead we have an ever increasing list of video competitors vying for our eyeballs and ears. Cable TV news talking heads are pervasive and divisive. Late night talk show hosts engage in political repartee as fodder for humor. More people view YouTube videos than view network television. People cannot distinguish fake news from real news.
Poor Apple. Everybody has streaming music. Everybody has streaming television shows and music. Why does Apple even bother? The company is just one of many that make hardware for people to buy, and provide content for people to view or listen to. No one platform dominates. Competitors abound. How can they all survive, let alone prosper?
No problem is so complicated that you cannot make it more complicated
Nobody is making our online lives simpler these days. Easy applications are difficult to use. Life has become more complicated by a growing number of orders of magnitude. Smartphones are making us dumber.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found that the presence of your mobile phone in the room with you is all it takes to crater your overall brain power. This means you are being dumbed down in real time.
Why? Too much complexity. Too much competition for our limited brain power. We see this phenomenon everywhere today and it is getting worse. As much as I admire Apple’s ability to help simplify modern technology, not everyone can afford Apple kit, and not enough technology users understand the problems all of us face.
Complexity rules. Humankind is doomed.