Crossroads. Thats what I arrive at when I see these two fields together. By profession, I’m a Web Developer. But by true passion, technology dominates most of my time. Coding, programming, repairing, and blogging about technology is what I do most of the time. I’ve thought about combining the two for quite some time. Hopefully this will shed some light on why people love and “need” technology.
Humans are repetitive creatures. If you say you’re not a creature of habit, you’re wrong. Even if you change houses every day, you’re still repeating the act of changing houses. This simple fact is why statistics about retention rates among devices is so important. Once somebody buys a device, chances are they are going to stay with the platform. If you have many games purchased on iOS, you’re less likely to switch platforms where you can no longer access those games. Music is a little different. If you’re still one of those trustworthy folks who buys their music (like myself), you can easily transfer the files to another platform via a computer. So is it impossible for people to change devices? No. Definitely not. People do it all the time. This is where companies get more and more of their customers every day. The number of people without a smartphone is shrinking, albeit that market segment is still huge (try around 6 billion people). But many companies look to trash other companies in hopes that they will steal their customers. But if companies can get that person to buy their phone, they’re likely to hold onto it for quite awhile.
People’s lives are growing. And by growing, I mean populating a lot more space. Internet communication has surpassed physical communication by far, and has thus caused people to wonder if social networks are bad because they are “addicting”. Well lets think about that addiction point for a moment. Is it taking up more social space, or is it merely replacing physical communication space? When we’re bored, we look at Twitter, Facebook, Yik Yak, and maybe some of you look at Myspace (not gonna judge). But is this a bad thing? No. It’s not hurting anything. In fact, it’s healthy. People are curious about others, and people like to share what is going on in their lives with others. Human interaction is critical and has a primordial background. If people didn’t communicate thousands of years ago, they would die due to the lack of relaying of information about deadly plants, dangerous animals, etc. So in todays online age, physical interaction isn’t being replaced by digital interaction, but merely enhancing interaction as a whole. Now we don’t have to wait until we see our family to show them the amazing sunset we saw last night. We can upload it and share with all of our closest friends. And that’s something that is truly amazing.
So why do people love technology? Well technology fills a hole in our lives. It satisfies so many different emotional responses. It can help us feel better, make others feel bad, or unfortunately make others feel bad. However this hole is impossible to define. We didn’t know what we were missing out on before the computer. Because it wasn’t available to us. Sometimes things in life are going to present themselves and we simply won’t realize how big of an impact it has until we try them out.
New technology is often a hot topic. Self-driving cars for instance are a very touchy topic in some regions. People don’t like to not feel in control. Now some might challenge that with the statement “people don’t like to not be in control.” But are we really that in control anyway? We eat food that is subliminally decided for us by advertisers, we put gas in our car that somebody has decided to sell for the cheapest price in town, we shop at supermarkets where only those select 100,000 products are for sale. We often don’t pay too much attention to how little we actually control in our life. This is why the idea of having a computer control your moving vehicle scares people. Did you know if self-driving cars were fully deployed, traffic jams would be no more. Speed limits would disappear, and nobody would die because of a drunk driver. Humans are terrible drivers. We suck at it. We back up into things, we drive off the road when on the phone because we’re such poor multi-taskers, and we can’t even make a decision to hit a squirrel instead of swerving into the other lane, and possibly losing control. Once we look at how terrible we are at driving, we’ll gladly accept the idea of a computer controlling the entire system.
These are just few topics when dealing with the psychology of technology.