Alarmapathy

[JP is so right!](http://confusedofcalcutta.com/2007/09/06/wondering-about-alarmapathy/)

> I have lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in a car whose dashboard is littered with various alerts and alarms. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen kitchen appliances whose control panels are flashing whatever they flash. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen televisions and video recorders and DVD players and radios and computers with bits and bobs flashing away merrily.

> […]

> Apathy sets in when we have too many alarms, too many meaningless alarms. Alarms should be risk sensors that help us make decisions that carry risk. Instead, we may be moving towards a world where nanny-state numbness is moving on to devices, and as a result apathy will increase.

> You know what I mean. You know that we live in a world where a “talking” bag of peanuts is no longer science fiction, where the bag says “Warning: The bag you are opening contains nuts”. Where you can’t take something out of the microwave oven without someone intoning the words “Warning: Contents may be hot”. Where swimming pools will recite the mantra “Warning: contents wet” as you enter.

> We need to be careful. Otherwise our alarms and nanny-state-hood will have appalling consequences, as alarmapathy increases to terminal levels.

JP Rangaswami, Wondering about alarmapathy

Coming from Switzerland, the thing that strikes me the most in London is the number of warnings and safety announcements and “danger signs” (it’s even worse in San Francisco, where I spent my summer).

The first few “security announcements” had me worried — but then I quickly learned to ignore them. Just like I ignore any burglar alarm in the UK, because as we all know, they’re always false alarms…

I also wonder what it does to our perception of the world when we are assailed with so many messages about how dangerous our environment is. I’m sure it can’t be good.

In the SF MUNI, the wall behind the driver is literally covered in signs saying things like “it’s forbidden to assault the driver” — and I think “gosh… people around here spend their time assaulting MUNI drivers? what kind of place is this?”

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