10 January 2023

Danilo Campos: “I volunteer helping seniors with their technology issues. … This technology is non-negotiable, at this point, even for seniors. They need it to keep in touch with people, to participate in cultural and civic life. These companies are just contaminating the every day experience of using them with incompetently-built surveillance crapware. My client paid hundreds of dollars for the privilege of using a machine that had been sabotaged by the greed and incompetence of its manufacturer, and they had no recourse at all. How are they supposed to figure this out? … It’s funny, working in the industry, how often you can smell some weasel’s little OKR [Objectives and Key Results] in the inexplicable frustrations of someone who just wants to use their laptop, phone, tablet… but they’re derailed by a popup, unnecessary login or other waste of time. These malignant incentives are an affliction amplified across the scale of any successful technology now. Maybe the most frustrating thing for me is how often I’m working with people who are apologetic and unsure because of these derailments. They think it’s their fault! They think they’re not capable of doing and learning on their own because they keep getting fucked with by this user-hostile crap at every turn.” The headline for this column sums it up: Junkware is Elder Abuse and a Menace to Society.