A good tool from today might become a nagging dependency of tomorrow.
Today I want to talk about tools. All kinds of tools. Tools like language, tools like words, tools like online platforms, tools like credit cards, tools like computers. I think you get the gist by now. I want to talk about a trend I’ve been observing for a while that has been going on almost ever since humanity started “progressing”. The story always goes something like this: Somebody creates a really useful tool, a tool that can improve the lives of the people who use it. More and more people start using it. A few generations later, everybody has to use it, not because it is useful to everybody, but because everything assumes that you use the tool, and as such, everything is built to accomodate, or even require the tool.
Let’s observe this on a few real-world examples. Banks. Yep, we’re going really oldschool this time, let’s just talk about the base concept of ba nk where you store money so you don’t have to protect it yourself, let’s just completely ignore the “credit” part of it because it’s irrelevant to this. It was a really neat idea, storing your money outside of your own home and you could just take as much money as you need for a certain amount of time, and it would be very well protected without you having to worry about it. Sounds really great! Now, let’s look at banks a few hundred (maybe even thousand) years later. It’s basically impossible to work a job without having a bank account, because nobody sends the money per mail anymore, they always want to transfer it to your bank account. So, you might think to yourself, “What is the problem with that?”. The problem is that now the banks control and view the flow of money everywhere, they can see who puts what money where from where at which point in time and they know when, where and most likely by whom the money is taken out. Banks have become somewhat of a critical infrastructure.