Ambivalence towards automation

A good quote I've read in a french book about foresight ("Fabriquer le futur 2 : L'imaginaire au service de l'innovation" (Pierre Musso, Laurent Ponthou, Éric Seulliet)), translated by myself:

"One can systematically notice a paradox in the public attitude - namely consumers that area comfortable with technological devices. On one hand, one notice the ever-growing needs in terms of comfort, simplification of domestic tasks and distractions. This desire make attractive any propositions that delegate the tedious efforts to machines, that lower the accidents or diseases or that offer improved sensorial performances. On the other hand, consumers always jealously defend a number of principles that corresponds to the traditional representation of how their homeplace should be: autonomy and authority (...) Thus, any automatic device must present some limits in terms of decision autonomy" (Edouard le Maréchal, Tangenciels) "

Why do I blog this? I quite like this ambivalence between a desire for certain delegation and the refusal of automatic systems. That's definitely one of the greatest challenge in design, which emerge from the problems caused by automation. Too often automation is generalized to lots of contexts in which things do not work properly.