John O’Connor

It happened again.

Without even asking, my friends at Apple installed new software that raises the IQ on my smartphone. I must admit the new screen looks even better. But the upgrade was not an unqualified success. For now my phone’s Global Positioning System is on the fritz, while Internet access has slowed dramatically. And a few apps appear to have forgotten how to do their jobs.

But why pick on just the world’s most valuable company. Lots of tech things were easier to operate before the smart craze came along.

Take my house phone. I mean it, please take it. I now need to press a button that basically turns the thing on before I can dial a number.

As for my “smart” television, just getting the screen to work seems to be a 50/50 proposition. Makes me pine for the dumb old set of my youth. Back then, all I had to do is pull a button, wait a mere 60 seconds or so, and the seven available channels came in just fine.

Plus I get that weird feeling the TV is monitoring me. Same goes for Alexa.

I do have to admit that when it comes to new tech, I am a bit of a suspicious, borderline Luddite. So there’s that. But as someone once said, you’re not paranoid if the world really is out to get you.

Of course, it’s not just me that the new tech is unnerving. For starters, there’s you. If you have any Internet-enabled tools or medical devices in your facility, you have every right to be more than a bit concerned.

I probably don’t need to remind you of how scary hacking, phishing and other break-ins by those with larceny in their hearts can be.

And even the devices in your facility can be vulnerable. Consider GPS-connected medical alerts. Some are warning that many of these 3G devices might soon stop working as cities upgrade cell phone towers to faster 5G networks. That’s not a problem you want to discover the hard way.

Perhaps getting our knuckles a bit bloody is part of the price we pay for all these wonderful tech breakthroughs. For in balance, many have dramatically helped improve the quality of our personal and professional lives.

The problem is, when things go wrong, the consequences can be truly catastrophic.  And there’s rarely an app for that. 

John O’Connor is Editorial Director for McKnight’s