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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

What are you thoughts about the increasing use of digital technology for many situations?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (37009points) May 22nd, 2023

This question is an offshoot of this question about using one’s phone to pay at a register in a store.

Jellies skew mature in age. It’s a fact that older individuals adopt new technology at a slower pace than young people. As evidence, I cite the recent questions on this site about whether or not to get rid of a landline phone.

It was recently brought to my attention that at least in Hawaii, Southwest Airlines has removed all their check-in machines at the airports here. The airline expects their passengers to check-in on their smartphones and use them also as their boarding pass. I can only imagine that other airlines will eventually do the same.

I mentioned in the other thread that Apple says using Apple Pay is safer than using a physical card. I can imagine that Google says the same for Google Pay, which I use. When one uses that function of a phone, the credit card number is never shared with the retailer. It reduces the number of times the credit card number is processed through machines and thus reduces the places for thieves to look for the number. I personally believe this is true.

I am quick to adopt new technology despite my age. I upgraded my personal computer to Windows 11 as soon as I could, and I have no complaints at all. I use a Google Pixel phone, because Google sends me updates much quicker than Samsung sends them to their Android phones.

The last time I bought a digital camera was about 15 or 16 years ago. I’ve relied on my phone to take pictures ever since.

I store all my data in the cloud on Microsoft 365. I get an unbelievable amount of storage there since I subscribe to it with a family plan in order to let my children use it too. I also store some things using the free storage I get from Google.

Google knows all my passwords. I rarely have to type one in manually.

What else am I forgetting that I probably use?

Digital life is growing. Do you embrace it or resist? Can you elaborate on your answer?

Thank you for reading these long details.

Edit to add: I thought of more ways I use technology. I use Venmo to pay friends for things. I use it often.

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32 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Using electronics is one thing.

Requiring a smart phone (or even a phone of any description) should be prohibited by law.

It’s a fucking outrage of conformist fuckery.

Oh, and fuck Windows 11 too. I’m a software developer using Windows 7.

Oh, and I tend to hate cloud storage, and “the cloud” in general, for many things, though it certainly works for many things. I used to use Google Drive, until they added some broken algorithm that quarantines my files, and the “support” for that issue has a link but they never responded. I’m so glad I wasn’t relying on that for anything.

Fuck Google, Apple, and Microsoft password systems, for potential security reasons, also for acting like it’s a reasonable thing to shift your authentication needs to their platforms. It is a power grab dressed up as a convenience. It may be convenient in many cases, but make no mistake, at some level, they are evil power-hungry organizations.

My smart phone has a very good camera. And, it’s not nearly as good as a real digital camera. And the colors and resolution on it suck compared to an analog film camera. But the free and practically unlimited capacity can’t be beat. Not to mention the other features. But I do miss being able to take photos of sunsets and get a picture that might be like the colors I see with my eyes. Not to mention, it’s bullshit to have a phone decide to “correct” your photos, making deer vanish in the woods, etc.

The general idea “digital life is growing”, I see as a dangerous way of relating to technology and expectations. People thinking that way, enables, excuses, and encourages misuses, abuses, and dependencies, creates needless waste, torments people who don’t want to have to learn the latest bullshit, etc.

(Pardon the language. You asked for my thoughts. Those are my thoughts.)

Zaku's avatar

(I’m timing out on editing my first response as I keep thinking of things to write, so I’m starting a new answer.)

I DO want an electric-motor car. But I do not really want the other excessive electronic features.

I don’t really want a touch screen as part of my dashboard displays nor controls. They require looking rather than feeling for controls, and more physical attention to make sure you press the right button and receive feedback, check the mode the UI is in, etc, which is a dangerous anti-feature.

I don’t want voice recognition interfaces to control my car, either.

I am unwilling to pay for a subscription to yet another mobile data plan for my car.

I do not want my car to respond to wireless communications from any device.

I do not want my car to be able to drive itself.

I do not want my car to keep any digital records of my car’s movements.

I want to be able to turn my headlights on and off, and to open and close my doors and windows, and start my car, with physical manual controls.

And I don’t want to be forced to pay extra for any of that, nor to have to wait for a special car to be made with none of those bullshit anti-features.

JLeslie's avatar

I think it is pretty horrible to expect all people to check in to a flight on their smart phone. Not everyone has a smart phone. My mother doesn’t, plenty of poor people don’t, my MIL has one, but could never figure out how to do it. I think it is a little early to get rid of all of those machines, maybe 10 years from now. I am assuming people can still go to the counter and deal with a human being. Your statement was just about the electronic check in at the airport, not actual live people if I understood correctly.

I use mobile check-in at the airport, and I LOVE my Marriott and Disney apps, but I do not want to lose the choice to use a real ticket card at Disney rather than my phone or forced to use a radio frequency magic band. My husband still uses his card, it is the size of a credit card to enter the Disney Parks, but I heard Disney might phase them out altogether. I have his ticket set up on his phone, but he likes using the card. As I said above, my mom doesn’t have a smart phone, so she needs a card or magic band (like a watch) but bands cost extra.

I am ok with some movement forward in technology, in fact so much of it is great, but I don’t like the total elimination of real person customer service.

As far as moving money, it is nice to move money quickly, digitally, but I am very against having a cashless society. We should be very wary of the move towards that.

I don’t want my car location and speed tracked, and I mostly drive under the speed limit and my phone often has the tracking on, but I can turn it off.

I hate how my laptop now stores everything in cloud, and it is so flipping confusing. I can’t keep track of various versions of a document easily, and I just don’t want something on the cloud unless I purposely send it there, but I cannot figure it out. I use dropbox, and that is just fine, that is out there for sharing. I use Google Drive, and same thing, it is out there for sharing, but I put things purposely in Dropbox or on Drive to share.

So much feels out of my control and too much security risk. That part I do not like.

seawulf575's avatar

Digital technology, like all technology, has pluses and minuses. The technology increases at a far faster rate than we can fully understand the negatives. Example: I had a worker years ago that couldn’t do a job for 10 minutes without making a mistake. At one point we had him go to the psychologist for evaluation. The psychologist said he believed it was something they were seeing more and more. Younger people (and this employee was a younger person) grew up with computers, cell phones, video games, etc. Their entire development revolved around things that flashed and moved from subject to subject. They (the younger people) could flit from topic to topic to topic (or task to task to task) without missing a beat. Provided those things only lasted a few minutes. Younger people were starting to show the inability to focus on any one thing for more than a few minutes. Their focus would move away and they would make mistakes.

Combine that with more and more intrusions into our lives from companies that track our habits, sell our info, target us for ads; hackers that can steal our identities, others that can send out ransom ware, etc. and we have more and more efforts to pare down our technology to fewer outlets that can do more things, but which if breached leave us far more vulnerable.

Acrylic's avatar

I’m a truck driver, so I use phone GPS (Waze) in place of a paper map. Still, it seems dangerous to have these machines do everything for us like remembering phone numbers or, really, cars that drive for us. It’s ok to use tools, just not to be overtaken by them.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Technology is like prison sex. I can do without it. But it’s convenient…

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I think they push technology on the public ,way before they get all the bugs out of it.
I see to much of this wonderful technology screwing up,or crashing and yet the people are just in love with it.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

One more thing I refuse to get a smart phone ,I have two computers and a tablet ,but my cell phone is a flip,(that you can still buy brand new) I tell people I don’t want to lose a hand if I get a smart phone, I say look around 95% of people have one in their hand 24 hours a day, my cell is for talking to people and storing numbers thats it, and yes it can text but I dislike texting greatly.

mazingerz88's avatar

Digital currency and digital currency records replacing physical currency and hard copy records…not convinced it’s a safe way to go.

If digital tech helps and enhances kids learning in school I’m all for it. But if it makes kids dependent and relying too much on tech to write essays for them I think that will be…horrible.

A pet peeve. Digital moviemaking. I still prefer the chemical process in actual film shooting and projecting it on a wide screen using non-digital projectors.

snowberry's avatar

I refuse to use my phone (or a computer) for banking or shopping. I tend to mess up numbers in my head, and for me, using electronics would be a liability. I’ll walk into a bank and happily come out with a paper record of my transaction. I suppose sooner or later someone is going to insist that I change to electronics.

We don’t store sensitive information in the cloud. Instead we use an external storage system to back up our stuff. It’s not perfect, but it works for us.
And I agree with everyone above who hates how electronics are taking over.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Honestly, smartphones have been liberating. I’m slightly younger than most here based on these responses apparently. There are many reasons I say this but to start: I don’t have to remain planted at my desk, I can move around freely without missing anything. I no longer require multiple devices for things such as navigation, phone calls, and a bunch of other things like free access to my entire music library, I can make videos and take pictures on the fly. It’s a flashlight, an emergency locator beacon if I crash my mountain bike alone. I use apps for things like checking engine diagnostics and error codes, startfinder, guitar tuner, it’s my alarm clock, issues weather alerts and on and on and on. That said, I refuse to use services like apple or google pay. I run a VPN on my phone and keep the security settings up to date. IMO refusing smart phones is like refusing to live in this century.

kevbo1's avatar

It has its pluses and minuses.

YouTube is amazing for DIY repairs. I can do my meditation practice with others on Zoom, and it’s every bit as good as being in person. Finding flights and hotels and deals on both is so easy now.

I’ve stopped reading books. Now I read and flip through stand-up comedy reels and baseball highlights on Facebook or Instagram. Now I binge watch gritty TV dramas while playing a game on my laptop.

Texting/messaging is exhausting. I’d rather talk on the phone. Last night, someone woke me up at 1 a.m. with a totally unimportant text and wrecked my night of sleep. I have nighttime hours set up on my phone, but this text got through because the person is on my list of favorites.

I run a nonprofit’s website with about 300 PDF documents that generally get updated once a year or more. We made two improvements to the website, and now every time I update a document and the URL changes (as usual), I no longer have control over the redirects (instructions pointing the old version’s URL to the new version). We’ve figured out that I should start using permalinks in certain cases, so now we’ll have to go through all the documents and replace the “versioned” URLs with their corresponding permalinks.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

I don’t even know where to begin, there’s so much to comment on. I do embrace a lot of technology, but there’s some I don’t want to have to deal with. I am definitely alarmed by the developments going on with AI, for instance.

I will use PayPal occasionally, but I never use Venmo. I think I got turned off of Venmo when I got a scam text one time saying that a payment have been made from my bank account to the app. I don’t use PayPal enough that I really care about other options. I used to use it to pay the guy knowing my mom’s yard, which was really convenient because I didn’t have to be home when it came and I could just quickly pay him once I got home and saw that he had mowed. Also, I have a friend in England who is really struggling financially right now. When I got some extra money I wasn’t expecting from my inheritance, I sent her some money so she could get some stuff she needed. I was able to be somewhat “sneaky” about it because I knew her email and I had casually brought up if she had PayPal at some point. I knew if I told her in advance that I was going to send her some money to help her out, she would have protested and told me not to. But she was very grateful and it made me feel really good that I was able to help her.

I also don’t want a lot of the car features that they are talking about having eventually. When I think about automatic locks or windows opening and closing, my brain automatically goes to what could go wrong if you have to suddenly leave your car and these items are malfunctioning.

I do have the latest version of Windows and I like it, but I was definitely happy to hold on to Windows 7 while we were dealing with some of those less savory versions afterwards.

I don’t use my phone to pay for stuff at the store. I am perfectly happy to use my bank card and I hope we never get to the point where that is not an option. I don’t even see how they can say they no longer accept cash because it is still considered legal tender. I do understand that it is sometimes a safety option.

Sorry, @kevbo1 and others, but I will never stop reading books. I’ve always been an avid reader so I’m probably somewhat biased, but I think that that’s one of the problems nowadays, is that people don’t read anymore. I don’t think it matters if you read a book on a Kindle or some other electronic device, although my personal preference is a real book, but we’ve definitely let the attraction of technology take us away from the joy of reading.

I love my smartphone and I use it for lots of things too. I joke occasionally with friends about how we ever survived for years when we didn’t have them. When I went up to the mountains in my state, I used to drive the scenic routes for hours and hours. I didn’t worry about my car breaking down and what I would do if I wasn’t anywhere near a little town. I had map books to look at so I wouldn’t get lost. But now, I wouldn’t think of leaving the house without my phone. Oh, and I am trying really hard to walk more, because I need to get in better shape, especially giving my health issues, so I love the fact that I have a pedometer app that tracks my steps throughout the day.

I guess I am pretty on board with a lot of technologies but maybe not with some of the newer ones coming out. And I definitely don’t think it should be forced on people as the only option, and I do worry that that is the direction we are going in.

I use texting and Facebook messaging all the time. I will talk on the phone with family members, but usually it’s only if it’s a bigger discussion about something. Otherwise, I use voice to text and that’s really quick and efficient for me so I don’t worry about the time needed to type things in.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I thought of 2 more things. I pay all my bills online. I don’t mail checks for anything.

Also, last week I got the safety check on my car done. It turns out the insurance card I had in my car was an old one. I was able to open the AAA app and find my proof of insurance and got the safety check taken care of. And! I paid for the safety check by using Venmo.

LadyMarissa's avatar

I sit on the fence a LOT!!! I love the idea of technology. At the same time, I don’t fully trust the knowledge nor the security behind it!!! I pay all my bills online via my computer but it took me a long time to get to that point. I don’t trust the USPS to get my mail to the appropriate destination, so anybody could end up with my credit card info with their track record!!! I do have my bank’s app on my phone, but I don’t do any transactions via my phone. I mainly check my balance & verify what payments have cleared my account. I feel much more comfortable using my computer for any real transactions. I make a LOT fewer mistakes when I have a larger screen as compared to my phone’s screen. I can also do .pdf screenshots of what I submitted if there is a problem. I tried Samsung pay years ago & I loved the convenience & feeling of being safe. I do NOT trust Google to keep me safe; so, I REFUSE to use Google Pay!!! I stopped using the Samsung pay after my phone totally crashed & I never set it up on my next phone. Now that I’m out of the cycle, I don’t miss it!!! I don’t pay for things on my phone with credit cards, so I don’t worry about that info being out there. The one thing I do is keep half my money in 2 different banks.I NEVER give out the info for the 2nd one. It’s my safety net just in case my 1st account gets compromised. I decided that having half my money is better than NONE of my money just in case something goes wrong!!!

I’ve found that my paranoia helps to keep me safe!!!

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@LadyMarissa I definitely understand your caution, and I don’t use Google pay or Samsung pay or anything like that either. I have a question about the bank thing though, not about you having two accounts because that’s probably not a bad idea, but unless you have millions and millions of dollars in the bank, wouldn’t your money be insured by the bank if something like that happened? I’m honestly asking because I don’t know.

JLeslie's avatar

I thought of another. Being able to pay tolls without stopping. We pay our account on the app and then when we pass through the toll it’s deducted through our account. In the last few years more and more states are part of the same system.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I also thought of even another. I use my bank’s app for the vast majority of my banking. I use it to deposit checks and check what’s come out and check my balance.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I looked into that whole thing where you could deposit your checks with your phone, although thankfully now I have direct deposit. And maybe it was just my particular bank, but it turned out that the money wasn’t going to be deposited any faster than if I went in person so I just decided to keep doing that. I do use my bank app on my phone for lots of other things though.

jca2's avatar

I love the smart phone. I use it for texting,googling things, Waze, a very few apps and the camera, plus talking on the phone. I’m not into apps for everything. Friends encourage me to download apps for McDonalds and other places like that, no thank you. I don’t want offers of free fries because I’m going to take the offers, and I’m better off with no temptations like that.

All my bills are paid through auto pay, either by my cards being billed or by the payments coming automatically out of my account.

I don’t use my phone for shopping, and I don’t have any shopping apps like Amazon or Costco. I use a computer for that. Maybe it’s old fashioned, so be it. I love how everything is kept track of, and so if I want to look at something I bought five years ago, I can search for it and find it.

I’m not into Venmo, Paypal, Zelle. I know these things all say they’re totally safe, but nothing is totally safe. I tend to be cynical and cautious, and as I stated on the other q, I view it as one more vulnerability, one more way for a hacker to get my stuff. One more thing to keep track of. I feel that of course these apps are going to swear up and down that they’re totally safe, because they want you to use them. They’re not going to say “no, it’s not totally safe. There are vulnerabilities.”

I don’t see how an airport could have electronic check in only, with smart phones. There are a lot of people who don’t have smart phones, and there are a lot of travelers who are elderly and not too tech savvy.

I read books and magazines in printed form, but often online, too.

I don’t want an app to control the power and other systems in my house. I don’t want an app to control my car.

I like how for some meetings now, we can use zoom or other conferencing apps or sites, in lieu of in person. I prefer in person but when the weather is bad or there’s a pandemic, it’s nice to have the option.

I don’t use the cloud for storage. I really try not to have extra things to have to pay for.

jca2's avatar

I thought of another thing. I rarely use checks for anything, except paying for an occasional event or paying the guy who mows my lawn, or sometimes for getting my hair done. For my daughter’s school cafeteria account, I can load it online for a fee (few dollars each time I load it, no matter what amount I’m putting). I can send a check in and there’s no fee. I send the check in. I’m frugal like that and I hate paying fees if I can avoid it. If I’m going to load it a few times a year and pay a few dollars each time, that’s money down the toilet.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I am not a Luddite. I enjoy, and am actually quite familiar with the details of “tech”. My entire career has been at the cutting edge of tech. We made stuff that did exist until we created it.
That said…
I try to resist:
-Any device that reports my actions back to the mother ship without my knowledge.
I love my older smart phone Moto X4 because I can turn off Location, Bluetooth, NFC, Data, WiFi at will. My battery lasts 4–5 days (sometimes 7 days) between charges.
-Any car control that forces me to take my eyes off the road to adjust volume or temeprature.. I hate touch screen controls they are awful when it is freezing and you are wearing gloves and they are incredibly expensive to replace.
– Any monthly subscription service that sounds inexpensive but adds up. No Netflix, no Apple+, No Hulu. No Cable. (My son gives us Amazon Prime and we pay for his AAA membership so that is a wash)
– Any banking or financial information on my phone. If I need an app to do something like banking or flying, I will load the app from home and try to only use it with my own wifi or Data when I am away. After the trip if over, I will delete the app. Not always but most of the time.
– I have allowed very few permissions on my phone and computer. If an app askes for contacts I don’t need it. The flashlight app does not need to access my contact list.

I like:
– Autopay for certain bills. I generally only do that on my laptop.
– I pay with a credit card if the bill is $20 or more and pay cash for everything else. That reduces my exposure
– I use self-contained timers and programmable thermostats to control lighting, heating and water to my pond. I try to avoid any device that requires Internet. True fact. I know an ex-engineer at Nest. He said they could listen in to conversations at will – and customers granted them that right in the fine print. Nope!

I would say I am with @jca2 and @Zaku on this . (Maybe not quite as intense @Zaku but similar.)
My 2019 Subaru has lane alert that beeps when you stray out of your lane. I live in a more rural area. Roads are narrow and people run, walk, bicycle on the side of the road. Also the mail, delivery trucks, newspaper delivery, occasional Amazon, Fedex, UPS trucks drive on the wrong side of the road. It is no problem We just wave and drift over to the opposite side and go around. Easy. I hate that the car beeps every time I do that. I have to hold my tongue and not say “OK Car, You’re right. I’ll just hit the cyclist.” And you just know the car is storing up that data so it can report it to someone when or if it ever gets the chance to contact the internet.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake It sounds like your phone holds much of your life. I hope you adjusted your privacy settings to include a screentime password. Today is 5/24/2023 and Apple still has not addressed the issue of a bad actor changing your trusted phone number, email and recovery key with only your phone passcode. That would be disastrous for you.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

^I don’t use an iPhone.

JLeslie's avatar

I LOVE my back-up camera and my truck has all around camera including from overhead (amazing) and the beeping to warn about getting too close. My car also brakes if I get too close to something. It’s great. My husband’s 2 year old cousin was run over behind a car in his driveway with his mom ten feet away.

janbb's avatar

I like it as an option; I don’t like when it’s imposed on me. There are some things I’m happy to use apps for such as parking in my city and GPS, etc. But I really like having a printed paper ticket when I am flying and someone to check in my bag.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Whew! I am so relieved! Since you are using an Anroid…
Do you turn off the functions you are not using? Bluetooth? NFC? GPS?
Do you know where you are? Why do you need GPS running all the time?
Are you actually using Tap to pay? If not, then turn off NFC.
Are you using a Bluetooth headset right now? If not, turn it off.
I presume you don’t use public Wifi due to security issues. (Good move!) So, turn off the Wifi connection when you leave your house. When you are home, turn it back on.
I have even turned off Voice assistant. I type in what I need. I don’t think I have ever said “Hey Google” in public.
Your battery power will last longer and your battery’s life will increase due to few charges.
I figure it is a win-win-win for a little inconvenience on my part. You increase your security, make your phone last longer and your phone reports fewer bits of data back to the mother ship.
(And iPhones are much worse.)

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy I think you get a little obsessive about privacy. I followed your advice about setting up the parental controls privacy code and last night I couldn’t get into my phone to check on my Apple account. I thought it would ask for the second code but it didn’t. What’s the work around there?

LuckyGuy's avatar

That fact that you could not make a change or even look at your apple account settings means you did it correctly. Congratulations!

You have to disable the screentime password. That will remove the parental controls
After you do that your phone is open again.
This adds a little more “friction” but it is worth the effort.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy Where do I go to disable it? I have a cold and my brain is fuzzy.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@LifeQuestioner My understanding is that the FDIC only covers your funds if the bank fails…like when the Silicone Valley banks went under. The FDIC does NOT cover theft or fraud against your personal account. Anyway, even IF the FDIC did cover the theft, I’m sure that it would take them a while to replenish your account. In my case, I would probably need it faster than the payout would take place.

I’m retired & the money that I have has to last me for the rest of my life, so I’m NOT going to take any chances with someone figuring out a way to steal my money. It’s been a while, but at one point Walmart’s system was getting hacked on a fairly regular basis & the info was posted on the dark web. Walmart is the best shopping option I have in this tiny town where I live. So, I use one account as my throw away account where I have a debit card that I use as needed. That’s also the account from where most of my bills are paid. My backup account has a debit card but I ONLY use that card at the ATM when I need cash. That should make it more difficult for thieves to get any identifying info to post on the dark web!!! Yes, banks can be hacked, but it appears to be less likely. I also assume that would be considered a “bank fail” where it would be covered under the FDIC but that could well be a faulty assumption. Anyway, that’s my paranoia way of feeling safer!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@janbb I don’t have an iPhone in front of me. Do a search for screentime password. There will be an option to disable it. It will require the password to do that.
I am getting over a cold too. Parainfluenza type-2.

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