Maybe you’ve seen the new elevators that use touchscreens to call them. I got on one recently and there were no buttons inside. The elevator already knew the floor I needed to go to and it sent me there. I kind of miss the buttons.
When it comes to new technology, I’m a bit of a Luddite. I like driving cars. I like being my own spell-checker. There are a lot of technological advances I love: lifesaving medical devices, supercomputers in our pockets that connect us with distant friends and family, accessibility, speed, and we’re only touching the surface. Some advances are nearly miraculous like when we figure out how to give blind people sight and deaf people hearing. And yet, some things I still like the old-fashioned way, with a human touch.
We keep hearing about retail stores going out of business due in part to competition from large online companies. What we don’t hear as much about is the retail stores that are strong and growing. They are there and it doesn’t look like they are going away. It turns out humans like to interact with other humans. It’s great to order things online but sometimes we want to actually try the product or ask questions about it on our way to purchase.
This is true in retail as well as health care, education, and even the financial world. You may have heard of “roboadvisors”. They are an interesting idea, but I’m not sold on the idea of taking advice from a computer. What happens when I have a question? How do I determine if I can trust a computer? I certainly can’t shake its hand or discuss my fears with it. When it comes to my future, I want to have a person to talk to.
And I probably want to drive my car to my advisor, doctor, and store. I’m such a throwback, I like manual transmission cars. It turns out even though automatic transmissions have been popular in US cars since the 1950’s, there are still manual transmission lovers. Each year about 5% of cars sold in the US have a manual transmission.1 I’m going to have to get on social media and tell my friends about this.
If you’re a fellow Luddite or think I should come over to the technology side, send me an email message, or even better, give me a call or stop by! I’d love to hear your story.
1 Welsh, Jonathan, “Yes, Cars Still Come With a Stick-Here Are a Few Favorites”, Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2018.