Few Organizations Know How to Use the Internet Well
When I speak of the Internet I mean the complex of computer, software, and the Internet. And I use the word complex in its scientific sense – a system of interrelated forces with feedback loops and a lot of non-linear behavior.
The requirements of the computer affect the software for it, which in turn affects the computer – and the Internet affects both of them – a system of three interrelated, by-directional forces. This is kind of thing traditional science avoided like a curse, because its mathematics could not begin to cope with it.
But software, which is inherently non-linear itself, has no trouble. It can model nearly anything in theory. In practice, it does have difficulty in two ways – some stuff is difficult to model because how it behaves is poorly understood. This is particularity true with people, who are almost impossible to understand, by their very nature. And some processes, such as the weather, are are chaotic by their very nature, and nothing can be done to change that.
That being said, there is an even bigger problem – organizations, which are composed of people, are by their nature stupid. This can be stated more politely, but that is the basic fact. Human nature was formed long ago, and though we are remarkably adaptable creatures, our adaptions are limited, as psychologists are beginning to discover, in embarrassing detail.
This in itself should not be an insurmountable problem – once we understand our limitations, we should be able to work around them. But at this point we seem to get stubborn and insist on making the same mistakes, over and over. However, I have gotten off the subject here, with my explanations.
What I started to write about was how few organizations really know how to use the computer/software/internet. And this includes software organizations too – who should be the most adept at this – being the man in the middle, so to speak.
I recently decided to learn the Python programming language. Which is not too hard if you stick with the most elementary of programming interfaces – the command prompt. This is how computers started out, way back when. The computer types some simple text for the user, for example:
Python 2.7 (#1, Feb 28 2010, 00:02:06)
Type “help”, “copyright”, “credits” or “license” for more information.
Believe it or not, this is the interface many programmers love – as impersonal as possible. They want to get as close to the hardware as possible – being hardware persons themselves.
But ordinary persons, such as me, want the computer to be more human – or at least to seem human. And a huge amount of work has been done to do this produce this illusion – which computer users have gotten used to (such as Windows operating system). For programmers, the Integrated Programming Interface (IDE) was developed to make all kinds of programming tasks easier and more trouble-free. I love them and I need them. And this gives me an excellent window into how screwed-up the software industry is.
Bear in mind that I am talking about the software industry here – which should be the most advanced industry on earth – if not the entire solar system. Believe me, it is far from that, as anyone in the know knows. Why? Because programmers (or whatever else they like to call themselves) are nothing but ordinary humans with a little external polish – which doesn’t change who they are basically in the least. If anything, they are even less socially adept than the average bear. And anyone watching them in action together can easily see this. They can act like the Keystone Cops.
The one exception here is Amazon, which not only has first-class technical expertise, but also first-class customer support. They really work at making the customer feel good, and this pays off. Expect them to be around for awhile.
The main gripe I have about the effect of high-tech organizations on people, is how we have been shunted to the sidelines. This problem is biting them in the ass – and will result, I am sure, in a total wreckage of the human world – high-tech or otherwise.