WHY is technology so mean to me? PEOPLE talk a lot about ' artificial  intelligence ' but not enough about '' artificial obstinacy.''

As I rushed to the airport my Find My App rubbed salt in my wounds by telling me I had left behind the earbuds that my phone refused to recognize in the first place.

At the airport it occured to me that I might clean the charging port by using a suction technique. So if you were at Midway International Airport last Friday and a small child asked you : '' Why is that man sucking on his phone? '' that man was me.

I got on the plane, secure in the knowledge that Southwest has very reliable Wi-Fi service. But the flight attendant informed us that this time it wasn't working, because, you know, Satan.

I got home and found my home Wi-Fi wasn't working, either. I fixed it by turning it off and on, a maneuver that shows, as the Silicon Valley would say, that I am '' tech savvy.''

While at home I had to print six documents. I used to have a printer that served me well until one day I decided my ink cartridges were '' corrupt '' and refused to do any further printing.

I bought more cartridges from the printer's manufacturer, but my printer still saw shadiness in all new cartridges - like QAnon members looking at national politics.

We bought a new printer, but it's snooty. Asking it to print something is like applying to Harvard.

It was willing to print out an essay from the journal Daedalus and an academic paper on aging, but it was unwilling to print four other documents from mere newspapers and websites. Like Bartleby the Scrivener, it would prefer not to.

You might be reading this account thinking that I'm the problem here. I'm just a technology idiot who doesn't know how to fix things. I am open to this possibility.

When I last went shopping for a car and the salesman started explaining the amazing electronic features on the new models, I was unable to follow him after 0.7 seconds.

But I remind you of the central reality. Gizmos that were working for me one minute stopped working the next. I want my technology to have many capacities, but free will is not among them.

As I'm writing this sad tale my computer is alerting me that I have to shut it down for a vital security option, as it does frequently when I'm on deadline. For a decade, if I deleted an email on my phone it was also deleted on my laptop, but one day that stopped working, too.

Every time I log on to my bank's website, using the same computer each time, I get an email telling me a new device has been detected. And don't even get me started on subjective security questions.

How am I supposed to remember what my favorite pizza topping was 15 years ago when I opened that account? People grow and change.

I am thinking of finding a priest who can do a full-scale technological change exorcism - like in that old Linda Blair movie. Before I do, just let me send this off to my editor before my computer crashes ^*%±@+!.   

This Master Global Essay Publishing continues.  The World Students Society thanks author David Brooks.


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