5 Modern Conveniences We Put Too Much Faith In

5 Modern Conveniences We Put Too Much Faith In

Whether we want to admit it or not, there’s a certain level of ignorance that’s required to live a mentally peaceful life. Not on the big issues, or personal relationships, but because of the constant possible catastrophes that, if we considered them 24/7, would turn us into gibbering gelatinous piles of anxiety. If we want to be able to walk down a city street without screaming every time we walk under a window A/C unit installed by a stranger, certain parts of our brains have to spend some time in the off position.

To that end, here are five modern conveniences that we take for granted…

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Self-Driving Cars


Here comes the future, streaking down the sidewalk!

It’s understandable that we all love the idea of cars that can drive themselves. Who wouldn’t want to start their vacation early with a shitty beach read in the front seat while their car rips down the coast to a sandy, sunny Airbnb? Catch a priceless extra 20 minutes of sleep on your morning commute while your Dunkin’ cools to drinking temp in the cupholder? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to haul your thoroughly sloshed 3 a.m. self into a backseat and get a ride home from a more literary brand of Big Brother?

But when something’s that much of an easy sell, a lot of important details go overlooked. First is all the caveats wrapped up in “self-driving” that give it a pretty hollow ring toward what’s promised. For instance, you’re supposed to be 100 percent tuned in on the road with hands on the wheel just like you were actually driving, which means it’s a lot less robo-taxi and a lot more glorified cruise control. It’s also starting to seem like “well, you should be watching” is turning into more of a legal umbrella than a reliable safety instruction, as accidents involving autopilot cars are being investigated by the NHTSA.

A.I. Writing


Why read one good story when you could read patchwork pieces of a bunch of them, stuck together?

Another recent tech phenomenon is the growth of A.I. writing. Again, it makes sense why people want it to work well so badly, since it’s the classic tech promise of nothing but free time courtesy of some exciting new code. You might also argue that I personally have a lot to lose if A.I., as blue checks on Twitter often threaten, “changes everything.” I’m actually not too worried about it, as anyone who’s ever read one of those A.I.-written articles built to juice SEO when looking for a new coffeemaker, etc. can attest: It’s boring at best, and inaccurate and confusing at worst.

That inaccuracy is where things really start to get muddy. Boring writing might make it hard to get jobs, but straight up making up information gets you in a whole lot more trouble. You’d think if there was one thing a robot could do effectively, it would be fact-checking, but the track record is pretty abysmal so far. Whether it’s a lawyer looking at disbarment after using A.I. to write a brief that referenced non-existent cases or CNET having to issue multiple corrections on an A.I.-written article, it’s starting to seem like “writing” is a much smaller headache. Tech gurus, as is their wont, have even given A.I.’s tendency to flatly state false information as fact its own cute little name: hallucinations. As in, “always trust someone who is currently and frequently hallucinating.”



Dont worry, family! Theres a metal thingy keeping us all safe!

For this entry, we’ll take a noticeable leap backwards in technological advancement, but to something that’s still in constant use today — that small, silent defender of property the world over, the lock. Want to leave the gym with everything you entered with? Use a lock. Want to keep your bike from being biked off with? Lock. Want to get an absolute earful or the wrong side of a wooden spoon from your mom? Forget to lock the door when you go out.

It’s not like locks are useless, far from it. Especially when most crimes are crimes of opportunity, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to sleep with nothing but a quick wrist movement between you and possible intruders. The thing we all have to keep out of our minds is just how easy it is to compromise pretty much any modern lock. Plenty of channels on YouTube, most notably LockPickingLawyer demonstrate pretty effectively that locks are a deterrent, not a solution. It’s like the old “you don’t have to be faster than a bear, you just have to be faster than your slowest friend.” 

Even without real lock-picking skills, there’s tons of simple lock-picking methods like bump keys, lock pick guns or snap guns, or, if stealth isn’t a priority, just a good old drill. If you’d ever had to call a decent locksmith, the speed with which they got into your home with any of the above tools was probably highly concerning. 

Anyways, sleep tight!

Streaming Media


Watch anything (that a corporation decides is worth it).

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’m not completely beholden to the streaming teat. I’ve spent a harrowing amount of time in my adult life being drip-fed video content from an unnamed cloud server. As with most people these days, long gone are the days when I had a shelf crammed with DVDs or Blu-rays of movies I liked. Sure, I still have a couple stragglers in the form of Mr. Show and Mighty Boosh box sets and a Blu-ray of Roadhouse, but those are more home decor than anything else. Driving that point home was my recent realization that even between a laptop, desktop PC and gaming system, I don’t have a physical disk drive in my home anymore.

Of course, a lot of people might shrug it off, since it’s not like they’re really needed anymore. Spend some time in the right fandoms of the internet, though, and you’ll realize that people are starting to raise a pretty reasonable alarm about the death of physical media — namely, the fact that without it, studios and corporations can make older or less-appreciated IP disappear forever. It’s feeling a lot less like doomsaying, especially with recent cullings on streaming services of shows that were never released on digital media, whether to get tax breaks or to avoid paying royalties

It might be time to grab your favorite underappreciated piece of content IRL — if you’re lucky enough that they ever produced copies in the first place.

Being Alive


Is your house about to blow up? Theres simply no way to know!

Maybe the most necessary and constant brain justification we all have to do is how close we are to death at absolutely every moment. Every time we walk to the coffee shop for a cold brew, there’s zero guarantee we won’t be taken out by an aneurysm or tenderized by a city bus or shitty driver. Hell, the whole planet might get cored by a rogue meteor without much warning. 

This might be one it’s probably better not to think about, though, unless you want to be on some brand new medication.

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