Sleepwalking Into a Dehumanised Internet.

This morning I found myself knee deep into some remarkably difficult problems regarding domains, tax and PPC advertising – numerous phone calls and some hours later, closing the final browser tab, VOILA! My woes are now wins and it is back to the grindstone.

I would consider myself, right now, a ‘wantrepeneur’ chasing a lifestyle, not where I can sit on the beach and drink a barrel of sangria, feigning the digital nomad dream, but an enriched life. One where I can become a problem solver of the highest calibre and live an existence rich in integrity and wealthy in kindness. For a quick disclaimer, I am not there yet, nowhere near.

However, it would be disastrously wrong, further, a horrific reflection of the ego to say I have meandered where I am thus far without the help of customer support or just aboutanybody that has ever offered advice regarding my web ventures.

Do not get me wrong, I regularly undergo multiple aneurisms dealing with Amazon customer support, echoed by many on the forums dedicated to Amazon sellers (even buyers) but consider this an idiosyncrasy – even then, my olive branch extends to those at amazon too.

These faceless people, constrained by the peculiarities of being on the right side of business law and consumer fairness, not the least their own companies’ guidelines are incredibly talented and succinct communicators. Dealing with impatience, scepticism and microaggressions on an atomic scale. Often, have I found myself eating my words, scoffing at the responses of the agent, only to be dumbfounded at the simplicity in which they solved a seemingly complex issue.

I take my hat off to these people and for those speculating the collapse of such an undermined profession amidst a year of 3-pointers for artificial intelligence, I sincerely hope you can hear me out.

Humans by their very nature are empathetic and do want to solve problems, our DNA for the most part, favours progression and cooperation. Automated bot responses and 45-minute phone call wait time was soon mediated by a soothing Scottish accent who cleared a mammoth of confusion this morning. Arguably, AI would not have been able to decipher the level of confusion incoming – broken sentences, mid-sentence pauses, mumbled self-corrections and a voice break. If Siri were to be solving my taxes this morning, I am sure it would have kicked the bucket by now.

Artificial intelligence, if inevitably set to consume our consumer lives, must involve a human element, and I am not saying this as a scathing populist would espouse to protect an industry in sunset mode. I am saying this as an advocate of simplicity and a release from the pressures of a rapidly changing digital landscape.

Humans, when complemented by artificial intelligence, are left to solve the problems of the upper echelon, issues beyond a shallow password change or a quick figure bank balance response. This is where the fulfilling work can be done for those at the helm of the headset and also where time is saved in a culture with severe productivity anxiety.

As an Amazon seller, shopify fiend and a 95%-of-the-time online shopper, it is crucial that we allow AI not to develop as one but as an extension of human consciousness. Speaking to an advisor must never be the last option on the keypad, nor something we take for granted.

We are constantly bombarded with SEO littered articles worshipping the simplicity of automation and its impact on our lives, but we forget sometimes that our personal productivity is the result of a well-oiled machine consisting, largely of other humans, big surprise.

To admit your work is not 100% your doing is not as easy to admit as you might think, 67% of us hate admitting our downsides according to a PsychTests study. Nevertheless, try not get lost on the simplicity of the idea, those other humans, have emotions; they too get stressed, anxious and overwhelmed at times. I know it can be difficult to empathise when your emails are not syncing or your exported film has gone missing in the ether for the 5th time, but a little empathy can go a thousand miles towards greater harmony. A disgruntled software engineer will be far less likely to fix the code on your website if a previous client, without a clue on JavaScript, belittles his ability to fix the website.

As I say, a well-oiled machine, although out of the scope amid a deeply technical problem, is the key to greater productivity. The ship will fail to sail if everybody rocks the boat.

Too often this wild impatience and disregard for those sitting at an online helpdesk or behind the text of a live chat is completely out of character and rarely, I suspect never, would you find yourself this enraged at the apple store, if you lost connection with your email servers.

It is about time we realised the future of e-commerce and the internet in general is still going to rely on human interaction till the day we leave it to fly the nest or in other words, allow for complete autonomy.

Final words? A little more kindness is in order because one day, you could be that high calibre problem solver.

Published by Harry Allen

Freelance journalist & Marketing Afficionado

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