Technology. It surrounds us. It is in all facets of our lives.
So is technology getting so complex that it becomes no longer useful? Especially when it comes to performing useful tasks around the home.
Here is a very simple example. Is it quicker to squeeze a glass of lemon juice by hand with a simple juicer, than use a kitchen appliance to do the same job?
I would contest that it is far quicker to juice by hand, if you take the following into consideration.
- Time take to manufacture the two tools – the appliance is a more complex and takes longer to make
- Cost and purchase of the tools – a hand juicer costs no more than a few dollars, whereby an appliance may cost well over $50.
- Materials consumed during use – an appliance relies on electricity, which may or may not be reliable.
- Time taken to clean after use – a hand juicer takes a lot less time to clean, and therefore less water.
- Designed obsolescence – appliances are designed to fail soon after warranty or do not readily have spare parts, so that you have to consume more.
- Detrimental effects of disposal – eWaste (electronic waste) has known to contaminate groundwater.
This is just a one of many hundreds that I could cite just from observing around my own home. It is clear and evident that a simple tool beats the more complex technology hands down. You may think that it is more convenient, but if you take everything into consideration, there are diminishing returns in time, materials, cost and waste.
Using the criteria that I have listed, can you think of other simple examples that you care to share? Can you think of any examples where the opposite is true?