Gadget Ignorance

As technology gets more complex are we willfully foregoing the ability to maintain our own devices in order to concentrate more on their use? I can see a few different perspectives on this argument. Companies such as Apple remove our access to the low level functionality of a device and it can be reasonably argued that this is to restrict our avenues of after sales service. When something goes wrong the manufacturer is your only place to turn and this might guarantee them income from costly repairs down the line. It can also be argued that there is so much technology in our lives and much of it sufficiently sophisticated that it's not plausible for the average consumer to maintain their toys. This may be particularly true of cars that incorporate sophisticated computer systems.

The reality is probably somewhere in the middle ground. We still need enough knowledge of our things to handle the most common trivial issues, but the days of rebuilding engines (or computers) in your garage to solve that irritating problem are more than likely drawing to a close. Unless you're an enthusiast, in many cases the burden of education is either too high or the time required is too significant. We have to entrust these tasks to people with the correct training more and more often and in some cases the difficulty or cost of repairs is becoming a larger burden than outright replacement.

As technology becomes simpler to use, under the hood it is becoming more complex and we are adopting a culture of almost 'wilfull ignorance'. We're being more selective about where we invest our resources and how much control we retain over the things we rely on. We defer responsibility to those who specialise either through necessity or choice.