New Technology Gives Me Anxiety

I’m always the first to sign up for beta programs online, but the thought of using a machine to pay for my parking space has me circling downtown ten times just to find an old fashioned meter.

Why is the machine so far from the car? What if I break the machine? How many buttons are involved? What about the people behind me, who do this every day and are impatiently waiting? What if it won’t take my money? How many steps do I have to take? What if it doesn’t print the ticket? What if I don’t put the ticket in the right spot and get fined?

I have anxiety. Part of that means I hate new and confusing situations with too many steps, especially when I’m out in public. While I can appreciate the end results in terms of time and financial saving, the idea of living in a smart city gives me the chills.

I’m the person who still doesn’t use self serve checkouts and would never even consider paying for something using my phone. I’m still adjusting to paywave because no two EFTPOS machines work in the same way. All these people are using technology everywhere, all around me and I feel as if I’m being left behind. As soon as I learn how one thing works, I’m faced with something new, something replacing what I’ve known for years.

I always thought it was logical that some older people couldn’t understand how new technology worked, due to the huge generational development gap. But I’m only 30 and already technology has outpaced me. Suddenly things I’ve been doing for over a decade are changing and every day tasks I understood 5 years ago have moved onto a completely different system.

I learn new systems and new methods of achieving things online every day, but I can’t manage both that and having the world outside my computer march so rapidly into the same realm.

For me, human contact is the most important part of learning something new at a shop or for plotting my way through a technology based application. I want someone there who can answer my questions, not a machine which only has buttons, none of which are usually marked ‘help’. No matter how much technology replaces humans, people will still want a real face there to help them, for them to trust, connect to and make them feel understood.

Give me a human face and human understanding and I’ll happily adapt to one piece of technology at a time. Give me a new piece of technology with no instructions, I’ll probably do my best to ignore it until every other person powered option is discontinued.

I can’t keep up with the machines. At this point, I don’t think I want to.


Originally published at susannahbirch.com on January 28, 2017.

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