Opinion

Has technology really levelled the playing field?

Wouldn't it be great if you could go online and shop around for a better deal on your energy minister?

Well, sorry, that's just not going to happen. It doesn't work like that, sir. Unless a minister was prosecuted for some reason - if they could find a police man with the integrity to prosecute him, a CPS that didn't cock up the evidence and a judge who could uphold principle - it looks like they're pretty unsackable.

I only say this because a new survey by analyst firm Point Topic says 5 million more households around the world could afford broadband if the price was cut by 1%. That would help the digitally deprived, claims Point Topic CEO Oliver Johnson.

Sorry, but I don't agree.

Sometimes, technology doesn't level the playing field. I'm afraid that's a myth, m'Lud. 

Banks created 'efficiencies' by outsourcing call centres to the poorest regions of the world. OK, they cut their costs and boosted their profits. But did that improve customer service? What did the consumer get out of it? We're actually worse off. 

When customers are told to 'talk to the hand', the hand invariably asks them to spell everything out twenty six times. I said twenty six times. Twenty - ohhh, T as in tango..

Meanwhile, the growth crime among these underpaid call centre workers, shocked by the disparity between their bank accounts and those of the people who are so rude to them on the phone, is to sell their bank details to crooks.

The banks, meanwhile, have got this one covered because they claim that their new system is infallible. So if you find five grand has disappeared from your bank account, the onus is on you to prove that a crime has occurred. Which is difficult when you're shut out of the system.

What is this great system they've got? Chip and pin. Yes, that's right, the technology that was going to protect us all. 

Does anyone know a technology that really does 'level the playing field' and give society a competitive edge?

This was first published in October 2011

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