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Not every change is progress nor is every new thing an improvement

I recently spoke with the manager of a small business who told me that he had to update the computer program he uses to manage his company, from the database with customer information to every sale made and every payment made. And the result was disastrous.

After several months of back and forth with the software provider company, as well as dozens of visits by that company's technicians, the new program was finally installed. And the best thing the installers could do and get the program to work at “80% efficiency,” the manager told me.

Among other problems, the customer database was not transferred in its entirety. Printers couldn't connect to computers, and when they did, they printed the same material multiple times. And tasks that once required a single step now require multiple steps, some of them somewhat complicated.

Even worse, since the installation of the new program has already been done, it was no longer possible to go back to the previous version. And there was no way to know when the new program will work one hundred percent, or even if it ever will. Meanwhile, the manager said, his business “suffered” because he could no longer serve his customers as quickly as he used to, and because of that, he was losing customers.

I think each of us has gone through similar experiences when, for example, an update (unsolicited, of course) is made to the operating system of the computer or smartphone. And it turns out that the computer or phone worked better before the update than now.

At another level, that well-known saying that says “We were better before when we were worse” is reflected, for example, in government decisions to launch a new health or education plan, or a new program to combat this problem or that. But usually, the results are disastrous, and things are worse than before the “solution” arrived.

And at a global level, we can say that all of humanity is committed, intentionally or blindly, to achieving precisely the opposite results to those sought, causing greater results than those that previously existed. To quote another saying, the cure is worse than the disease. In fact, in many cases, the cure is much worse than the disease.

The problem is obviously not new. Two millennia ago, Saul of Tarsus (Paul) lamented that he did evil he did not want to do, but he did not do the good he did want to do. It seems that we have made little progress since that time and, perhaps, the only difference at this time is that contrary to what Paul expressed, more and more people do want to do evil.

It should be clear that I am not suggesting either going back to the past (it is impossible) or rejecting change (it is also impossible). But not every change is beneficial nor does every “improvement” or “update” really mean progress. Let's therefore stop deceiving ourselves by thinking that more technology is good for us. 


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