Technological Antisolutions

A Technological Antisolution is a product that attempts to replace boring but solvable political or social problems with a much sexier technological one that probably won't work.

Technological Antisolutions are everywhere because they allow us to continue living an untenable status quo. Their true product is not the technology itself, but the outsourcing of our social problems. They alleviate our anxiety and guilt about not being active participants in political change, and for their trouble, founders and investors are richly rewarded. [...]

There is perhaps no better example of technological antisolution than the self-driving car. American transit is a political crisis on so many levels. [...] This twice-daily society-wide masochistic ritual destroys the air quality in our cities, the psychological well-being of its participants, the physical spaces we inhabit, and the only wet rock capable of sustaining human life in an otherwise cold and unwelcoming universe.

We all instinctively know this is madness, and into this breach steps the self-driving car industry. They offer to leave our lives and our cities completely intact. They offer the status quo, but perfected. They offer convenience in exchange for political apathy and patience. Perhaps NPR can give you some tips on how to deal with your traffic-anxiety while you wait for self-driving cars.

Self-driving cars in which you sit in a personally owned consumer vehicle with no steering mechanisms and continue your life as before are a lie. They are not coming.

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Old man shakes screwdriver at cloud

I have 50 or 60 employees, whose jobs have skill requirements that run the gamut from "empty trash cans" to "mix a live band". So every time I see my general manager standing on a ladder I say, "Surely you could have delegated this." But unfortunately, it seems to be the case that almost nobody under 35 knows how to:

  • Replace a 3 prong outlet.
  • Replace a washer in a faucet.
  • Replace a sink's p-trap.
  • Replace a door knob.
  • Put a screw into a piece of wood. All the way. Straight.
  • Figure out the part number of that rusty thing. Order one.
  • Use a table saw without dying.
  • Use masking tape for masking.

Dear service-industry millennials: take a shop class. Not only will your employer be able to give you more hours, but you'll need to talk to your landlord a lot less often!

(See also: "How to Tell a Loved One They're Coiling Cables Wrong".)

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Pac-Man Monitor

Anyone local got a 19" unburned Wells-Gardner K4600 or Electrohome G07 they want to sell me? The monitor in Pac-Man has been dead for like six months and I don't have any time to deal with it, so I want to just throw money at it and yeet the old one.

Yes, there are many less-severe steps I could take, that you are all just itching to suggest, including:

  • Spend a bunch of time figuring out which 5¢ component went bad;
  • Pull the boards and mail them to someone else and pay them to do that;
  • Find some volunteer stranger who thinks this sounds like a fun project and spend endless hours coordinating and supervising;
  • Buy a new set of boards instead of a whole new tube;
  • ...etc etc.

But I don't have time to deal with any of this crap, and most importantly, I don't want to. I am looking for a solution along the lines of "30 minutes of my time plus a few hundred dollars."


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