Aside from the discussion about the effects of automation on employment and activity focus, I think what really concerns me is that such automation appears to me to dangerously remove the human judgement factor and the value of exposure to things that are 'just not quite right' with our systems. This can in turn reduce the 'caring' factor in our attention to systems and long term reduce awareness and attention to potential problems.
Just this morning I have been researching why the cooling fan in my personal system has been running at top speed for some unknown reason. This has been going on for some time and just hasn't made sense to me. The system itself has not notified me if anything amiss, things have been running reliably, performance has been very good. Fortunately, as a human being I have been able to research a number of sources of information and used human intuition and judgement to possibly resolve the issue which all the software involved has been attempting to handle by running the fan without understanding the underlying cause. I was able to obtain a number of possible causes and select a solution which appears to have made an improvement.
I firmly believe there is danger in the 'cookie-cutter' approach to systems which depend far too much on distant developers instead of hands-on awareness.
I do, however, heartily agree that ALL software needs to help us more, actually MORE SPECIFICALLY, with the information they create and deliver to us for attention. After my decades of use of software, my biggest frustration is information that is incomplete and too general to be of much value. If you determine something is wrong, tell me EXACTLY what you found, not some general thing like "Oops, something happened' that I have been seeing lately, can't remember offhand which software I use that has been doing that.
If there is a problem with my software or hardware, I need to know EXACTLY what you discovered, in all the detail available. Tell me what you were attempting to do up to and at the time of the problem. Until the software is smart enough to do this, we still need the human factor as close to what is happening as it can be. One feature that has been sometimes available is the 'TRACE' capability that would provide detail, but mostly was just done in development environments but this has mostly devolved into 'logging' which is usually worthless. We often don't need a massive history as much we need just a current rolling 'snapshot' of current events.
Is it time to rethink our approach to software helping us?
I may not be good, but I'm slow.
The only thing worse than being an influencer
is believing one.