In today’s rapidly advancing technological landscape, it is disheartening to witness a continued failure in delivering general purpose development tools that could empower non-programmers to leverage the full potential of computers. The lack of accessible programming tools has led to a Kafkaesque reality for many individuals, where they are forced to rely on inefficient programs or engage in extensive manual workarounds. This article explores the implications of this failure and the urgent need for change to ensure that computers work for all of us, not the other way around.
Inefficient Processes: A Case Study To illustrate the extent of this problem, let’s consider the experience of a lady working at a midsized bank. Her job involved manually searching a set of dates in an Excel file, entering each one individually into an internal search tool, and verifying the corresponding codes in a report. This manual process, repeated for over 100 entries every month, epitomizes the unnecessary burdens faced by employees due to a lack of automation.
The Unrewarded Innovators The reluctance of organizations to reward individuals who find innovative ways to automate such tasks further exacerbates the situation. In many cases, these individuals face resistance and punishment from ICT managers who view their initiatives as threats. This discourages the innate desire to automate and drives talented individuals away from pursuing such efforts.
The Lack of Incentives One fundamental issue lies in the economic system itself. The prevailing notion that the economy incentivizes efficiency is debunked by the reality of wealthy individuals merely transferring money rather than enabling progress. This undermines the urgency to automate processes and fosters a culture that undervalues the importance of efficient computing tools.
The Paradox of Automation Automating mundane tasks can liberate employees to focus on more valuable and meaningful work. However, management often fails to recognize the potential of automation and instead burdens high-performing individuals with additional responsibilities. This creates a cycle of more work and increased expectations, without offering any true reward or reprieve.
Towards a Solution: Democratizing Computing It is crucial to address the decline in general-purpose development tools and shift the paradigm towards a more inclusive and empowering computing landscape. To achieve this, organizations should provide comprehensive training in programming and automation, starting at an early stage such as high school education. By equipping individuals with the necessary skills, we can bridge the gap and foster a society where everyone can leverage technology for productivity and problem-solving.
Conclusion: Breaking the Cycle The failure to deliver accessible programming tools presents a significant challenge for modern society. It is imperative that companies prioritize the development of general-purpose development tools that allow non-programmers to harness the full potential of computers. This will not only enhance productivity but also empower individuals to contribute more meaningfully to their organizations. It is time to break the cycle and ensure that computers work for us, rather than forcing us to work around their limitations.
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Author Eliza Ng