1968 年，數學家布雷斯（Dietrich Braess）發佈論文，展示在某些情況下，開拓新的道路反會降低原來道路網絡的使用效率。
我曾經花了一個半小時，被逼在洗衣店網站輸入一大堆個人資料。即使我對該網站毫不感興趣，我還是要這樣做 —— 只為了儲值我的「洗衣卡」。
從前，直接以真人儲值，只消不到一分鐘；自從我的社區決定將大閘「升級」至自動閘門，成功進入大閘需要經過 4 至 5 次刷卡，比以前用鎖鑰開門多花了 3 倍時間（附送額外的挫敗感）。
In 1968 the mathematician Dietrich Braess published a paper demonstrating that sometimes opening a new road will, counter intuitively, render the road network less efficient than it was before.
It seems to me that this study, which by itself looks like nothing more than a curiosity, is in truth a blatant testimony of what often modern ages fail to accept, that innovation and improvement are not always quite the same thing.
I don’t want to be mistaken for a deluded nostalgic who’d like to go back to a life of painfully slow travelling and communicating, inefficient heating, lighting, and food preservation, crippled by likely dictatorial serfdom and raging illiteracy of a populace mown down the lack of antibiotics.
Sometimes, however, it seems to me that change is implemented more for pride or custom than for real utility.
I once spent half an hour being forced to insert a swathe of personal information that even I find uninteresting into a website, just to manage to put money on a laundry card, a process which I suspect replaced a less-than-one-minute-long personal conversation.
Since my residence decided to “upgrade” the front gate to an automatic one it takes about four or five card-swipes and three times as much time and frustration to get inside than with an old steel key.
Since my local shop implemented automatic cash machines, queueing behind someone having an emotional breakdown caused by the intransigence of its robotic voice is a daily experience.
If it’s true that my phone now memorises hundreds of phone numbers for me, I have to memorise dozens of passwords to use it – emails, transport apps, banking apps, social media, news, online shopping sites – and of course the laundry website – and spend some time everyday deleting the mostly useless notifications all these things constantly provide me with.
To sit an exam at university I had to consult numerous websites of verbose norms, was assigned a whole bunch of codes and candidate numbers which I’d never learn by heart, had to travel to the other side of the city, and sit in a noisy room of thousand almost-synchronised candidates, writing on special paper that had more obscure numbers and codes in the margins than space to write on.
All because, apparently, showing up to our usual classrooms with a pen and a sheet of paper with our name on it just doesn’t feel as professional.
But I will have to accept that this is how evolution works, change happens randomly, and only the innovations that happen to be beneficial survive. Otherwise, there would be no progress at all. I just hope the failed evolutions will go extinct quickly.