10 Things I Don't Like About the 21st Century

By: Nina Glushchenko | 07.09.2022, 14:12
10 Things I Don't Like About the 21st Century

Not long ago I shared my enthusiasm for the fantastic possibilities that our time offers to man (and to me in particular). But speaking of the joys of life in the web of progress, it would be unfair not to mention its side aspects. Things that, frankly, are starting to get annoying.

1. The Death of Personal Information Space

Instant accessibility of my personal time to a wide range of obscure individuals. There would be (almost) nothing wrong with this if other respondents weren't indignant (more often and more intrusively every day) that I didn't always respond lightning-fast to their messages. I don't answer on Skype, they keep getting me on WhatsApp or by email, asking where I am. And they may even call at any time, being far away from the people closest to me. The "after 9 a.m. and before 9 p.m." rule is forgotten. The most frustrating thing is that a succession of meaningless messages from incomprehensible respondents distracts my attention from really important people.

There is no more discouraging picture than a smartphone with dozens of messages in all the available services

The more communication tools I use, the more people involved, the more lethargic my response to a new batch of inboxes. A couple of years ago, a phone call was an excuse in itself to answer. Most of the emails I received didn't sit unread in my inbox for more than a couple of hours. I tried to answer questions on messengers promptly. Now there is no more discouraging picture for me than a smartphone with dozens of messages in all the available services. So let them blink and gurgle.

The information noise gets louder and louder. Smashing the smartphone or going back to the "caller" is not an option (at least for now), so I have to put on a mask of indifference and delayed responses. I can't help it. It comes from within.

2. Informational Mono-Diet

Being able to choose content on our own (rather than from what three and a half channels on TV and five official newspapers show) does not make you and I more selective. It allows us to choose our sources more carefully, proving the correctness of our own position. Try, for example, being a committed meat-eater to read a vegetarian publication or being an atheist to visit a religious (or vice versa, if you have the opposite). It's damn near uncomfortable and doesn't fit my true picture of the world!

Here you are, my lovely geeks, so piously believing that your arguments about Apple and Microsoft are of great importance to humanity. But if you go out in public, it takes a long time to explain to these people what RAM is and why more megapixels in a camera is not always better. And do you often leave your Internet and go out in public?

Google knows more about me than anyone alive today on Earth.

I'm impressed that people who are passionate about social media are completely convinced that the whole world thinks the way their Facebook friends do. And that the whole world cares about the same problems. And that the world is just the way it's written on social media. And there is no other world at all.

3. I'm Getting Really Scared They're Going to Create an Ad That I Can't Get Away From

This thought spoils my mood and makes me anxious. I used to have a much easier time making a purchasing decision. Because I wasn't surrounded by so many ads screaming about how I couldn't live without this product. Now I think long and hard, whether it's my desire or media activity that makes me part with another payment. After all, Google knows more about me than anyone alive today on Earth. I'm still not completely convinced that I need the right clothes made of the right fabric to run, the right clothes to support the right muscles. Or that I need to drink two liters of water a day. Or that I need those damn multivitamins.

4. There Are No More Reliable Facts

Unremarkable facts and carefully riveted speculations stick out everywhere. Who is right? How do you interpret this? I do not understand. I don't have a clear opinion on many things. Simply because I admit my inability to tell fact from fiction. And I'm not sure I have enough information. That leaves me with a line of conduct dictated by universal values. I even have such a test. When I don't know what to do, I remind myself that the main thing is not to act like crap. Then the choice of the solution becomes more obvious. But I would love to be able to make choices and actions based on knowing the facts.

Any, absolutely any information is easy to fake. Any ridiculous theory can easily be spun out of nothing. Bots spin false information on social networks, bots multiply false posts, create a critical mass of likes and sharers to get into the category of respected sources. They make all sorts of incomprehensible crap visible. Mankind creates scary movies where we are destroyed by scary humanoid piles of metal and circuitry, clever artificial intelligence, scary viruses from laboratories. But we are destroyed by bots standing on the edge of the human (source of activity) and the technological (habitat) that successfully foment conflict on the Internet and fuel the war in our heads. After that they talk quietly in the kitchens under a lamp in the evenings about how they hate each other and us, and how we are loyal and tolerant, but they hate each other and us too and are coming to kill us. I have been to many kitchens of people on different sides of the barricades of various conflicts. Everywhere the same movie about tolerance is shown, and everywhere the same nonsense is broadcast, hastily made up in the same image. None of the points of view can be proven or disproved, because nothing can be verified. You can only choose the arguments that are more in line with the views.

And companies actively use bots for their own purposes - bought reviews, comments, opinions distort reality, create demand for poor quality, and sometimes even destructive for humans. And among the bought voices on the Internet, the voices of reason are lost and sound unconvincing.

5. There is a huge gap between those who are dependent on modern means of acquiring and exchanging information and those who do not get involved in the process in any way

In communication style, attitudes toward information, the value of human values, skills, and other important details. And it is constantly increasing. Getting from even the most high-tech city to the serene provinces is like a slap in the face. However, it's not even about geography. By a strange coincidence, there isn't a single family I know that's really into each other, with warm and lively relationships, and an active online presence at that. I don't know about yours. I'm writing these words right now, and I'm scared for myself.

But there's a flip side - I'm frankly being harassed by acquaintances and relatives who still haven't made friends with Google. "Please find that bank's phone number for us," "see which agencies you can trust," "how do you get a passport?" Screw you, you have the same internet as me!

6. The Internet Became Available to Stupid and Illiterate. And Through It All These People Appeared In My Life Too

Just a week ago I discovered the wonderful world of Chinese online shopping for a close friend of mine - a person from a wonderful family with a PhD, well-educated at school and university, not a linguist, knows several languages.

A couple of days ago she and I were discussing the results of a shopping trip. A friend told me that some of the reviews on Amazon seemed fake to her. She said there were some weird and ridiculous mistakes in wording. Well, a native speaker can't confuse them. After all, school, college, books... But it's us who live in our beautiful little world of people with fine diplomas, higher education, and a set of books read each year.

But the Internet is growing just at the expense of those who write wrong. There will be even more of them. And I don't know where I can hide from them. It would probably be easier if I smashed my smartphone.

7. You Don't Have to Pay for Your Words

Communication has become non-tariffable. Free incoming calls. More traffic and services in a package than the user needs. Gigabytes of space for books, music and videos on fairly cheap media. Who will read, watch, and listen to it all? Think about it? It seems to me that this is a disaster. We have stopped valuing the unit of meaning. There are too many meanings all around. And all for free. Or a hundred for the price of one. Thanks, but I don't need that much.

I didn't sign up for carrier plans that involve free voice calls between subscribers. In my opinion, it devalues precious human contact. Teaches you to take words and promises lightly. At least a token penny should be given for each unit of communication.

8. Total Technological Dependence

Technological dependence is an amazing thing. It's hard to know at what point the addiction occurs. It doesn't destroy the body and doesn't seem to have a devastating effect on the psyche. But it completely distorts social interaction, ruins the accepted canons of communication, breaks biorhythms and definitely changes the brain.

I literally got kicked out of my desk because I was trying to eat my breakfast with one hand while I was flipping through my work email or chatting on Skype with the other. That is still not the way it is done in decent homes.

Until recently, I was skeptical of posts about tech addiction and the cure for it. I am surprised at the hysteria over 99% of popular YouTube videos and stories like "what color dress is.". I usually have no interest in that kind of content and try not to get sucked into it.

...And then this summer I literally got kicked out of my desk because I was trying to eat my breakfast with one hand while I was flipping through my work email or chatting on Skype with the other. That is still not the way it is done in decent homes. And I don't remember when I crossed that line. After that case, I began to warn people I am uninterested in conversation with an ironic tone that, they say, I have an Internet addiction, during a conversation, I will periodically plunge into the Internet. As it turned out, this is a very convenient way to defrost from unpleasant people or strange situations.

But it's infuriating when my conversation partner allows himself to instantly respond to messages on his smartphone while talking to me. I tolerate it. But I can also stare at my smartphone display. It's okay if I answer all the messages after the meeting. Well, or almost all of them, some of them are important. So hang up the phone and let's talk, and you can deal with imaginary friends at home. Or on the way home, standing in traffic. In the meantime, concentrate on me. My free time is not rubber-stamped.

And there are times when you fall out of your digital paradise into some parallel universe where Google doesn't work. And life stops. Completely and utterly... My worst nightmare today looks something like this.

9. No Same Communication Tools - No Friends

I can't imagine how you can be friends with someone who doesn't have, for example, WhatsApp. Because despite all my hatred for it, the service remains my main channel of communication. More important than mail or mobile communication.

It's annoying when a new acquaintance decides that he, for sure, can convince me to use Facebook.

I am not attracted to social networks at all. And it annoys me when another new acquaintance decides that he will definitely be able to convince me to join Facebook and things like that. I understand that they can be a good working tool, too. But I have absolutely no interest in wading through someone's first teeth or a hamster dancing the lambada funny. All this social media desperately mixes the personal with the public.

10. The Corporate and Private Are Closely Linked

The idea of concentrating on work during work hours and on the personal during personal hours now seems like utopia. In any of today's communication channels there are contacts from both spheres of life. These contacts write, call, write again, and call again at any moment and at any place. During the day, at night, Monday morning, Saturday night, Wednesday lunchtime. As the thought came to mind, in general. And because of this, I find myself both in constant tension about work processes and in constant excitement about personal circumstances - they constantly and in parallel need to fit in my head.


But honestly, it's not all that scary, because when things get really annoying, you can pull the switch. Push the button, switch off from everything and fly to the south. Where life flows in a completely different way. Where in October you can stretch out on the beach and soak up the last heat of the coastal stones, watching the sky slow tango of clouds and clouds. And then, at the right moment, press the ON button and return to the system. Which will provide both ease of movement and ease of communication, and quick access to any information.