The Best Technology Subtracts

Paris, 2015 #cindyproject
Paris, 2015 #cindyproject

I’m currently drinking a (strong) cup of black coffee and I just had a thought about technology— how the best technology is the subtractive one, not the one that adds to our lives.

What does the best technology subtract?

I thought about the best technology we have — and it has mostly subtracted things from our life.

For example, the internet has subtracted stress, the pain of going to the post office, the bother of going to the store to buy stuff (thank God for Amazon prime), subtracted the cost of transferring information, and subtracted the cost of communication (remember when you used to pay for phone cards)?

Similarly, when it comes to technologies like cameras, subtractive qualities are the best. My favorite cameras are the ones which have subtracted size, subtracted complexity of use, and subtracted weight. In the past, we had to use massive DSLR’s if we wanted a full-frame sensor with great image quality. Now even APS-C and smaller sensors have as good image quality (if not better) than their older brethren.

What does technology add?

However on the other hand, there is a lot of new technology which adds complexity to our lives, adds stress, and adds anxiety.

Take the smartphone for example. While the smartphone has subtracted a lot of inconveniences, it has also added a lot of stress to our lives.

We used to be able to spend time with family after finishing work. Now our bosses are constantly texting us, emailing us, and contacting us after-hours, and on the weekends. We have the added pressure of always being relevant on social media — if we aren’t constantly posting, we feel anxious that people will forget about us. We feel the pain of “FOMO” (fear of missing out), so we are constantly married to our phones.

Which technology to keep, and ditch?

So when you think about technology; try to choose the technology that subtracts from your life.

Don’t add technology for the sake of adding technology from your life.

How can your technology subtract some of the following from your life?

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Weight
  • Wires
  • Size
  • Superfluity

Use the idea of subtraction when investing in your next piece of technology — or knowing when not to pursue a type of technology.