Why do computer progress bars suck as much now as they did back in the ASCII days?

"It is 2021, and progress bars' loading time estimates still suck just as much as they did back when they looked like this [referring to ASCII graphic]" YouTuber Tom Scott says. "Why can't computers just tell you how long something's going to take?"

It's always a good time when your computer's progress bar tells you it's only 15 seconds to go, and then updates you with another 3 minutes to go, and then 20 minutes to go… And will the bar ever run smoother? Probably not, according to Scott.

In his fast-paced, dry-witted explanation, Scott then runs through the many roadblocks that make the progress bar, and its "slightly fancier cousin, the loading time estimate," nearly impossible to work the way we want it to. And there is no good fix on the horizon. In the end, he assures us that faulty progress bars are actually okay, because that's not even their real job. Their real job has nothing to do with numbers or estimations – but rather it's just to assure us that something is actually happening – that progress is indeed being made.