Technology Taught Us To Never Wait
Are we too impatient for our own good?
I think it started with microwaves.
A typical microwave can cook an entire chicken in 16 minutes. That’s three times faster (or more) than the best convection oven. We started using microwaves to reheat and cook virtually everything back in the late 1970s. It's also around that time that we started standing in front of them, impatiently tapping our feet, waiting for popcorn to pop.
Modern consumer technology and the internet have only amplified that convenience impatience.
We have emails that literally travel around the world in seconds, and yet we still ask the recipient: Did you get it? Where is it? It should be there.
A file that takes more than 10 seconds to download is considered a crime. We offer slightly more time allowance for uploads because every one knows download speeds are faster.
A spinning circle on Disney+ or a beat before Netflix’s icon “ta-dum” sound sends our hands running through our hair in utter frustration. “This is an abomination.”
If something doesn’t respond on a web site or app immediately, we hit “Enter” again, and again. Meanwhile, the service is receiving all those prompts, causing it to fail, leading to you waiting another few seconds for it to resolve, which is also considered unconscionable.
We summon cars with our phones and then walk in circles while the on-demand ride takes seven minutes to arrive. Don’t they know you have places to be, and things to get done — instantly?
We see our world as having two planes: There’s where we exist, and then there is everything we want, which is all sitting pressed up against the thin simulacrum of electrons separating us. A request means that whatever we need right now must burst through instantaneously.
That’s the vision. The reality is that the expectation of spontaneous response is so pervasive that our systems and networks sometimes struggle to deliver.
Our cell networks and towers are bombarded with a dense wave of requests, and whatever hope we had of instant response is fighting tooth and nail with someone else’s request for just a little bit of network space.