In this digital age, are we losing our humanity?

In this digital age, are we losing our humanity?

L’eco de Sitges Opinion Piece September 2023

For all my commitment to peace, love, ease and joy, which I whole heartedly believe in, for balance, we must also speak up and stand in our truth. In an ever-increasing digital world, it can seem that the system that we live in, is intent on placing obstacles before us at every turn.

Feeling the frustration of digital bureaucracy

I know I am not alone in the frustration felt due to digital bureaucracy. Cutting out human interaction and the ability to question, reason, negotiate and agree. I refer to the online application systems, the banks, the unreachable authorities. The endless passwords and payments, 2 step authentication processes in the name of our security. The extortionate commissions, charges, small print and stream of pop up ads, cold calls, of which I have had too many to mention since switching to a Spanish business number. Reams of spam emails. Scams at every turn. Corporate faceless systems where no-one seems accountable for the lack of customer service and support and everyone is being squeezed for everything that they’ve got.

Computer says NO!

We can spend hours on the telephone dealing with automated systems and not being able to reach a real person, only to be told that ‘the computer says no’! A now, very poignant catch phrase, which was used years ago in the British sketch comedy ‘Little Britain’. The phrase was used to parody public-facing organisations and customer service staff relying on computer-based information to make decisions. Even when those decisions completely contradict common sense and fairness. The scenes depict, in a comic way, a deliberately unhelpful attitude towards service users. In an increasingly digital world, this ‘joke’ is becoming part of our daily lives.

When the computer says no and you have no way of dealing with an actual person!

Post pandemic, the situation seems to have worsened. . My own experiences have included an array of obstacles that could be prevented by real human interaction. Council digital procedures, without actual conversations. Callous email notifications, that allow people to act in a manner of detached disrespect. Computer shields that enable authorities to wilfully ignore, select and erase whatever suits their purposes. Digital appointments that are impossible to get, unless you pay someone who can readily access them. The impact of these processes is disregarded, even when it can create mental stress and potential financial pressures for people. There is nothing helpful about it.

There is a continual process of digital activity. Unfair treatment of customers and clients forced into procedures that we would rather not undergo. It cannot be ignored, that people are being shoe horned and cattle herded in these ways. There seems to be no other choice for the public and no real consequence for unhelpful service providers. Frequently on social media we read of another person’s misfortune. The public services that are in place to help the community, simply do not care about the community, unless it serves their own ends. The public that witness it gasp in despair and go about their daily lives without action. This has become the norm.

If the powers that be are not accountable and have no care for people’s welfare, then how can we expect this not to carry through in society? Yes, we live in a ‘pretty’ place and yes there are much worse places to be and nobody really wants to upset the apple cart or disrupt their own comfort. But is the road we are going down really ok?

In this digital age, are we losing our humanity? Because I think if we don’t start speaking up and making a stand, we could one day find that we have no rights at all, when the computer says no.

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