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Chapter 2. Cognitive Friction > Apologists and Survivors

Apologists and Survivors

Dancing bearware is becoming omnipresent. The incredible power of computers means that few people can afford to ignore them. Even if you don't have a desktop computer, you probably own a cell phone and an ATM card, which are software-based products. It is unrealistic to simply say you won't use computers. They aren't just getting cheaper; they are getting ridiculously cheaper, to the point of ubiquity and disposability. Many familiar products that we imagine as mechanical (or electronic) are no longer made without computers. Cars, washing machines, televisions, vacuum cleaners, thermostats, and elevators are all good examples.

Although the usefulness of an industrial-age device was proportional to the difficulty of manipulating it, this relationship is missing in the information age, and the difficulty of operation increases more rapidly than the usefulness increases. An old-fashioned mechanical alarm clock has always been considered easy to operate. A contemporary, software-based alarm clock can be harder to work than a car.


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