How many remotes does it take to change a TV channel? That’s not a trick question. Instead of simplifying life, technology often makes things more complicated. Many fitness trackers come with instructions that can take weeks to decipher—and features that few people use. Security protocols demand new passwords and user questions every few months. WiFi networks can develop glitches or break down altogether, turning productivity into frustration.
Technology is at its best not only when it’s reliable, but also when it disappears. Mobile phones evolved in the mid-2000s from feature phones to smartphones primarily because of the touchscreen interface—no one had to think about how to use it. When such innovations occur, they delight the user at the same time they move the world forward.