Ask Tech Effect: Why Does Technology Have So Many Problems?
Technology companies are constantly releasing new software programs to utilize the power of our hardware and make our lives better. You see this in applications that are released for mobile devices, software for computers, and even video games.
In the past, technology seemed to be fine. Whenever we turned on a computer, the software would very rarely have any problems. We used it just fine. If you ran a program on your phone (before the days of a smartphone), there wouldn’t be many problems there either.
Apart from feeling limited and wondering why things weren’t convenient, older technology seemed to have almost no problems.
When you look at newer software now, especially in some of the applications that you use on your phone, you might read user reviews that talk about bugs and failures in the software to deliver. You might buy a software program and see some parts of it aren’t working as they should.
You might even be one of the few individuals who is unlucky enough to run into a problem that only one out of ten people would encounter.
While it is true that you often see problems in areas like video games, where problems are often affecting the enjoyment of a program, they exist in many software programs and applications which we use now.
There seem to be so many problems existing that it seems like for every new software that is released, the expectation is that it is not going to be perfect, and that there will be a lot of problems until someone comes along and fixes it.
For some people, this is unacceptable. Why can’t technology experts create technology with no problems, like they did before? Why are customers (sometimes paying customers) stuck with imperfect versions which could make the software useless?
After all, if imperfection isn’t tolerated in other industries, such as construction, why should it be tolerated with technology companies?
In order to answer those questions, let’s take a look at how technology is made, where the problems come from, and why technology isn’t working like it once should.
How Is A Program Made?
For anyone who has studied coding, any type of coding, you know the steps in which software is put together.
A program uses a language that a computer can understand. Computers are capable of many things, thanks to the power of the components (which we all know as hardware). Programs take advantage of the processing power to “talk” to the computer in a way it can understand.
Coding is creating a program out of a language the computer can understand, which the computer then reads and then executes. Depending on the type of coding and the amount of coding involved, a program can do several tasks.
If you have ever taken a computer science course or a website coding class, you have an idea of how this works. You write commands in the language of your choice, and then see how the computer reads your inputs.
(Of course, this is stripping away a large extent of the complexities of programming, and I highly recommend educating yourself further on the art of programming to learn how a program is truly made.
For the purposes of this article however, this definition is simple enough to discuss the rest of the points that will be touched upon.)
A program can be coded to require certain inputs and produce certain outputs. If you are proficient with a coding language, you can create programs which can do amazing tasks.
It is because we are lucky enough to have a world where people study technology and work on it daily that we can have the technology we do today.
How Does That Affect Problems With Technology?
Let’s take a bit of a trip to the past in order to understand why technology has problems.
Back when technology was first invented, everyone was impressed by what new software programs could do. Expectations were high, but that was because expectations were loosely defined. As long as it was easier than what we used to do, it was considered amazing.
This wasn’t hard to do when all you had to do was make simple tasks convenient. Writing and keeping track of numbers was already considered amazing, and a significant improvement over using pen and paper.
As technology continued to grow, so did our expectations of technology. Writing processors are now taken for granted, which has changed significantly from the time when anything would be an improvement over typewriters.
Customers began to demand more, employees began to demand more and even technology experts began to demand more. Expectations rose, which meant that software now had to match those expectations.
Technology had to grow, utilize information from different sources and become capable of predicting inputs from users. This is different from older technology, where the expectation was there were only a limited number of possibilities, and thus it didn’t need to be as complicated.
For example, basic word processing only has a limited number of inputs. A simple keyboard represents all the possibilities that you can put into a word processor like Microsoft Word. No more, no less. This was a great improvement from typewriters or writing with a pen and paper.
If you wanted word processing with greater capabilities, such as multi-lingual capabilities and strict grammar checking, you are much more critical of mistakes, since you expect word processors to be able to write different languages just as well as English, or catch all the grammar mistakes.
Your expectations have grown, even though you think what you have asked should not be too difficult.
It is because of rising expectations that introduce new possibilities into technology. This isn’t a bad thing, but it does affect the likelihood that problems occur.
Why Would Problems Come Out Of Expectations?
The more we demand from our technology, the more capabilities experts need to write for the programs they create.
For example, if you have a weather forecast app, you would reasonably expect it tells you the temperature, weather forecast for the day and even a prediction for how the rest of the week is going to be.
If you demand greater accuracy and more functions, this can be programmed. However, experts can’t predict how you would use the technology.
Bugs, the term used to describe technology problems, are problems that users encounter when they use technology. Bugs prevent technology from working the way it was intended. They can range from misreading data and not doing a task properly to security holes and risks.
Some bugs are a fault of developers who are too quick to release their technology, and thus don’t check that all the possible errors are fixed. Others are a result of users using technology in an unexpected way, which the program doesn’t know how to read, and thus performs a different action.
The presence of bugs will always fall on the responsibility of the developers and experts who put the program together, but not all of the bugs will be something that can be fixed before the program is released to the public.
Why Can’t Software Be Perfect On Arrival?
Experts and developers can only predict so much. They can do their best to fix problems that arise, but considering the amount of information that software has to work with, a wide number of problems occur that are very difficult to predict.
Think of it like building a house. You can have the perfect design, the perfect materials, the best experts to build the house and a perfect location. You might even be able to prevent problems like pest infestation or flooding.
However, you can’t predict problems such as people accidentally bringing over pests, utilities failing, or even a natural disaster which is more powerful than meteorologists predicted. These would be the “bugs” for a technology problem.
Also, you also have demands of the public and the business environment. Customers are always looking for more technology to improve their lives, and companies are doing their best to fight for market share and defeat their rivals.
This means companies are releasing technology as fast as they can in order to earn more revenue. As a result, they might not be able to guarantee everything is perfect in order to avoid being run out of business.
While it may seem like technology should be perfect, unpredictable futures and demands of the market prevent a lot of technology from being perfect right out of the box.
That’s What Upgrades Are For
Thankfully, companies are well aware that no customer would be satisfied with a product that was never improved upon. They also know that they can develop new additions and functionalities to their products/services which can help the program grow out of its initial programming.
Although frequent updates may seem like a pain at times, they fix problems, provide new functionalities and allow users to report problems so that future updates can solve the problems and make the experience better for everyone.
Companies are doing the best they can to deal with all of the demands of customers. Dealing with so many possibilities has a lot of room for error, but you will almost always receive a product that works as it is intended.
It just has a lot of room for improvement, as do many things in life.
Software Problems Are Normal
Yes, it’s not always fun to call IT support and have them fix problems in technology that you feel shouldn’t be happening.
But just as you can’t accurately predict the future, you can’t predict every problem that technology will encounter.
Thankfully, most of the problems you encounter are fixable, and once implemented, allows everyone to move on with their life.
Our expectations of technology have largely influenced our idea of perfection, which is also why technology seems to have more problems than before.
If you took the time to understand the increase in expectations and the troubles developers have to deal with, you will be more understanding with problems that occur, which helps everybody.
After all, no company WANTS their users to run into problems. But if everything is solved in a nice and orderly fashion, instead of outright yelling and anger, they will be solved that much sooner.
We hope you enjoyed this article! If you liked it, share it with your friends and family, and follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @mspblueshift and on LinkedIn! Call us at 1300 501 677 for a look at your IT today!