Friday, 6 March 2015

Technology: The Good, The Bad and the Stupid



This year on October 21st, Marty McFly is due to arrive from 1985 in the Delorean (yes, that is the correct date, on this you can trust me) and this momentous occasion got me thinking.  Technically speaking we are living in the future and I started to think about how it’s turning out compared to what we were promised and what we dreamed of.  

The future is nearly now.
It’s a hard call because on one hand we don’t have hover boards (although a company has got working prototypes and this one isn't a hoax), our cars don’t fly, we don’t have robot servants, we don’t have automatic doors that make a really cool swooshing sound and we don’t live on Mars or Uranus (stop giggling).  We don’t have light sabers either which is pretty disappointing.

On the other hand we do have giant TVs, the internets, 3D printing and automated cars are progressing pretty well although how trustworthy they’ll be is anyone’s guess.  Computer technology is getting smaller and faster and we are indeed moving ahead in leaps and bounds and some of the stuff out there is pretty gosh-darned exciting. 

Light Sabre
Why don't we have these yet?

Take wifi for example, something we take for granted these days but really stop and think about it, you’re moving stuff from one place to another place – over the air! I mean, it’s kind of like matter transportation!  When you stop and think about it you kind of have to go, yeh, that’s pretty bloody amazing. 

When I was a kid the height of technological innovation was the Nintendo Game and Watch gizmos, if you had one of those your popularity stock went through the roof.  Kids today are spoiled for choice and wonder how we coped back in ‘the dark ages’.  Tell them you were alive before the internet was around and they’ll struggle to comprehend it.  They take for granted their smart phone is a tool allowing them to look up anything, anywhere in the world, at any time, all the information in the world at their fingertips. We couldn't even begin to comprehend something like that as kids, that sort of thing was beyond even science fiction!

Donkey Kong Game and Watch
If you owned one of these, you ruled. For what it's worth, I still have three. 

But for every good idea there’s the idiot cousin, the ideas that seemed great on paper but just didn't turn out quite so well.   You can’t accuse me of being out of touch here either because I am a total geek, maybe not King of the Geeks but I reckon I’m somewhere in the royal family. 

You want examples?  Righto, here we go…

Curved TVs:  Fine if you sit dead centre and enjoy sitting four inches from the screen.

3D TVs:  I just don’t get the point of them.  Admittedly I am stereoscopically blind so that may have something to do with it.

Smart TVs: Talk about a misnomer.  They’re useless, stupid and have been the cause of many rage incidents involving remotes embedded in screens.  I could write a whole post on how silly they are.

Tablets (Not the medicinal ones):  What’s the point of them?  As far as I can see they’re just really big phones without the phone bits or under-powered laptops without a proper keyboard.

Google Glass: Only good if you like getting punched in the face.

Smart Watches:  Why? Really, why?

Fit Bands (or whatever the hell they’re called):  Just take your damn pulse the old fashioned way. Or let the paramedics do it.

Roomba Robot Vacuum: Robot my bum. Ours just sits there beeping at us and refuses to dock. Idiot.

Nutri-Bullet: Because apparently our bodies can’t extract nutrients simply by eating food.

Windows 8: Nuff said.

Artificial Intelligence: Uh, Skynet? 

Given the plethora of both awesome and questionable technology that is around I'm both excited and terrified about the future.

What technology do you find stupid?