In the last few days I have pumped my own gas, self rung my own store purchase, used an automated system to refill my prescription, and entered numbers to tell the New York Times that the paper was incomplete. I have listened to a phone call from a woman in India who told me that my Windows software was in danger, but she didn’t want to listen to me tell her I used IOS only. So that wasn’t an interaction either.
For some reason, it is now assumed that we value speed over interaction, solitude over engagement. This can make for a pretty lonely daily routine. I have tried to counter this trend by consciously deciding to go against it. I use a human teller when my bank is open. I go through the staffed checkout lane at the store when I can. But it has led me to wonder what we are gaining in this new self-help world and what we are losing.