Writing this predominantly for work, where this post will be pulled automatically into the group Slack channel, the act of which has stirred a growing discomfort that I have about the automation of everything.
So, firstly to With Associates: Can I ask that we turn off the Mathew Bot that automatically pulls my posts into the group chat channel please?
While the setting up of the bot was a lovely thought (thank you Jamie), I’ve come to find that the automated reality of having these posts pulled in isn’t as nice as the idea (for me at least).
It feels interrupting to the channel, a little like I’m taking behind your backs, rather than having the conversation with you. Also, it slightly distracts me when writing: Adding a guaranteed automated outlet for all of my posts, that I know you’ll all see (and possibly feel like you have to read).
But most of all perhaps, it’s that all 9 of you have it automatically delivered whether you want it or not, at a time that might not be right for you.
It just feels like it’s on the edge of automation being useful vs. it being noisy and unwanted.
Thanks again though, but let’s turn my noise off in Slack. The blog post portion at least. What do you reckon?
The discomfort that this train of thought touches on is that the general automation of everything seems to have sights set on sentiment and consideration, which I’m thinking is a step too far.
Helping me to do laborious tasks more quickly is great. Aggregating news feeds that I choose to be pulled into onc place is fantastic. Even suggesting things I might like based on the other things I’ve looked at it useful, if we’re honest.
And the cars that will be driving us soon, and the news that will be writing itself, and the drugs that will be prescribed by software without human intervention, while scary, are also pretty exciting automations.
But the automation of having something make you think about someone else rather than you having to actually pay attention to them consciously, feels a little too far.
If that’s too abstract in the context of my posts and a work chat channel, then think instead about the awful chatty automated responses that website forms or error pages give you. Or Twitter accounts of companies that practice lazy social networking in their fulfilment processes. Or Facebook birthday reminders, that noisily remind you about the birthdays of a subset of your friends on Facebook. Forget those that don’t want their date of birth shared with everyone, or friends that aren’t on Facebook, or your parents who are scared of using it.
Basically, I wager that while everything can probably be automated, that the act of consciously thinking about other people that are genuinely important to you, and having thoughts about them that are not generated for you, is something that we should never try to relieve ourselves from.
And that goes for robot seals and monkeys, designed to care for the elderly. Or at least planning for that to be all the care that someone receives.