I understand the intuitive appeal of this argument (and drank the Kool-Aid myself for quite a while), but ultimately it’s a specifically constructed framing of how we perceive Time that is both illusory/wishful thinking from a psychological perspective and has the added benefit of conveniently ignoring other areas, ways, and processes that require great expenditures of Time elsewhere (often on the part of those with less power politically &/or economically to make choices about their Time) in order to support the mechanics, logistics, economics, and technical reality of the Theoretically Time Saving Device. Craig Lambert’s research on shadow work is one aspect of this.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not a Luddite shaking my pitchfork at Uber (plus the sharing economy’s greater problem area is in its runaround of the public sector, but that’s a different story ;)). I love and work in technology. But as I get older and see some of the same hype cycles playing out (to deleterious effects outside of Silicon Valley moreso than within it — part of the Bubble Problem), it seems to get more urgent to ask the question of whether this assumption is actually functioning in the way the theory asserts. Are we truly collectively creating more meaning by shaving off minutes of harried people’s time (or do they just get more harried the more time we “save”?), or is there a sense that we could possibly be unlocking greater meaning and purpose by focusing on other goals — perhaps goals that more directly pursue values as opposed to indirectly and theoretically creating space for Other People, Somewhere Else to pursue values?
Counterfactuals are very difficult to evaluate, so it’s hard to say — my logical brain is certainly allured by the former, but my emotional brain senses the latter is true given the overall state of affairs (speaking personally now, as an American citizen — there’s more of a sense of loss than of gain over the past half century despite the accumulation of numbers on paper in an economy we love to imagine is something objective and not a system we’ve created :)).