Is email evil? People are doing so much texting that they’re getting arthritis in their thumbs. One French internet executive has banned internal email, starting in 2014.
In BBC News, Tom Chatfield quotes author Kevin Kelly as saying that the idea of "wanting is not just for humans. Your dog wants to play Frisbee. Your cat wants to be scratched, Birds want mates. Worms want moisture. Bacteria want food." And, he says, email wants your time and thought, as it demands a reply.
Chatfield writes: "Email is free and instant, so there’s no reason not to send it in vast quantities–and, just to be on the safe side, to copy everyone into every message, and to cover your own back by double-checking every step of a process in written electronic form. Email doesn’t want you to make autonomous decisions, to delegate, or to switch off: it wants you to turn everything into typed words and queries, copied to everyone. It doesn’t want you to make phone calls or attend meetings, either: the preference is for endlessly reduplicated words and attachments."
In the Guardian, Simon Jenkins says that email is evil because it cancels out conversation. He describes being in a room where no one was talking–the only sound was the tap-tapping of fingers on screens as people texted each other. He writes that "the audience in a New York theatre now sit, row on row, with lit machines in their laps, looking to the stage occasionally but mostly scrolling and tapping away," and he thinks that conversation is becoming a lost art–that soon we won’t even know HOW to talk to each other.
Chatfield says that, by "snowing" us with so many messages, email "wants most people to feel: powerless. We’ll never escape all of technology’s worse wants. But if enough bosses, gurus and digital law-makers can manage to think outside the inbox, we can at least hope to contend with lesser evils."
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