The Cost of Convenience

Call it coincidence or a master stroke of misfortune – both my cook and maid have taken leave for exact 4 days.  I think we managed to sail through the planned leave days – but the next day was working, and they both didn’t turn up.  I wasn’t contributing very heavily for the planned leave part – so I decided to do the heavy lifting on the unplanned leave( 5th day).  This coincided perfectly with the book I was reading – Homo Deus.

Certain strange thoughts crossed my mind, once they both resumed their work the day after. The book explains how – Humans will give up meaning in search of power.  How, we will give control of every single thing for free. Best examples – Facebook and Google. Recently, Facebook was in news for this –

Facebook admits it poses mental health risk – but says using site more can help

So, Wah. You admit that you cause misery and yet want people to believe that using more of you will bring me out of it.  I was relating this to a very strange thing – the household help. When the cook was away, we took turns to cook and the food was delicious. We started ranting about how the cook always cooks the “same” taste and how nice it is if we cooked ourselves. However, ironically – every single person at home is relieved to see the door bell ringing at 6 in the morning : a signal that cook is here.

When we cleaned our own vessels, mopped our floors – we marvelled at how neat they were. Again – repeat feelings when the maid turned up at 8 in the morning.  I told her –  Wash the boxes first, we are getting late!

We gladly gave up neatness, and variety in taste for convenience.  One can argue – you would have gained lot of extra time, which is spent in doing something useful. While it looks correct theoretically  – I cannot explain where “ALL” the free time I gained by employing a cook and maid went. I slogged a little more at work ( hey, dinner will be ready anyway), I overslept than necessary, and sometimes – spent decent time with kids.

Is the convenience worth the sacrifice? I don’t know. But, this is how we are used to, since last 3 years. Cook first entered our life when I was about to deliver my second kid, and I had plans of continuing  work after delivery.  A family of 7 including a new born – was too much with a mother in law, stickler for timings.  The cook came out of necessity, but now we are used to her.  Can I manage without her? Yes, with lot of planning and little hardwork. Will I manage without her? Hell, NO.

I think when I started using Facebook or Google – my need was driving a lot of it’s usage. Connect with old friends, market the startup blog I was driving at that moment and read up conversations on popular groups.  Google came to my rescue to discover new recipes and mostly to deepen the few hobbies I have in life.  But, now – I think I have better way of doing things instead of going to Generic Google search. Customized websites, and lot of non-facebook chatter in concentrated forums. But, Will I ever give up Facebook and Google? Hell, NO.

I think eventually that’s what gonna happen to humans as well.  We will start giving more power to Algorithms seemingly to meet a business need- but once they start ruling us : there’s no looking back.  The concept of Algorithms ruling Humans comes from Homo Deus, and it looks quite convincing to me – atleast comparing with the way I live today.

 

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Author: Saraswathi Pulluru

Aham Bhrahmasmi.

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