"But you said you would help me! Would you help me, please?!"
Those were the words of a man checking in at JFK just after me on a recent business trip. His attire said "businessman" but his tone said "desperately afraid of computers." JetBlue at JFK now requires passengers to check in via their kiosks rather than with the ticket desk personnel. The process (to me) is incredibly simple - swipe any credit card for the kiosk to get your name, confirm the flight destination and number of bags, then take your bags and the freshly printed boarding pass to a human employee.
But the man behind me in line was very intimidated by the kiosks and was literally begging the one JetBlue employee standing by for help. Her job is not tech support, but rather kiosk police - she makes sure no luddites try to get in line without first making friends with the kiosk. So as the passenger whined for help, she tried to shout him instructions while directing other customers to their own PCs. The entire experience was very uncomfortable, and as I tried to both watch and walk to my gate, I wondered - is it even OK to be computer illiterate anymore?
This reality at JFK told me no - anyone paying to fly JetBlue is expected to be able to use a kiosk to check in, without tech support. In business it's not that different - if an employee can't forward an e-mail or set up an appointment in Outlook, that reflects poorly on his or her personal brand. Almost every job description includes "proficiency in Microsoft Office," but what does that really mean? And is an expectation of computer literacy fair? In business, yes, but in life?