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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why Should We Fear the Rain?

     I keep reading online about this impending flood of change as to how consumers will be using their technology in the near future.  The techie movers and shakers keep proclaiming amazing changes in how we work with, interface and play with technology.  It stands to be an upheaval of biblical proportions.
     I think they're all idiots.  In every article I read, and every story I see, I'm shocked with how dry and worn out the rhetoric is.  Its the same things people have been shouting for years, and they haven't happened.
      First, I read an article earlier about how by 2021 we will be using glasses that project directly into our eyes with lasers so we can see the world around us and still interact with our 'teleputers'.  We will control computers with our mind.  Sound to go to be true?  As the old saying goes, it probably is.  I'm not saying that we won't be able to interface with our computers like this someday, but I definitely don't see it happening within two years.  I mean, look how long it took touch screens to actually make their way into consumer electronics.  It took a video game hand-held console American's said was only for children to bring this concept into the home.  The patents for such technology were introduced in the 70's!  Yet it took almost thirty years for them to make it into the home.
     Also, brain wave control of the computer may be more difficult then scientist realize.  This sort of technology is based on mapping the way that impulses are transmitted through peoples brains.  But unlike modern, finicky computers, the biological computer of the brain is a system that can sustain a certain level of damage to its transmission systems.  From their it can repair, or re-route, existing pathways.  Our brains actually do this more often than we think, and this can certainly pose problems with electronics used to track its finite operations.
     And household humanoid robots?  This is an area I'm not even going to touch.  According to futurists, these were suppose to be in our houses by the late eighties.  And that's all I'm saying.  (Quick side-note, if this is something your into, check out Asimo.)
     More realistically is the constant complaint that desktops are dead, that all people will be doing their computing on the mobile landscape.  I would also call foul on this one.  The reality is that our world has become electronic, and that we are constantly seeking interconnection.  But this interconnection has also increased our intelligence as a society.  This means that advertising hype over something old isn't as effective as it once was.  We don't get bated into the trap that we must upgrade for the sack of a few ghz of speed.  But we do have to have whats new and edgy, no matter how intelligent we are.  The place of the desktop in the home isn't gone, we just realize that we don't have to upgrade as often as we used to.  The life cycle of the modern desktop PC, in my opinion, will actually increase, because there are just certain things better done on a desktop.
      What I'm getting at is don't expect a flood of change.  Change in the tech world isn't as quick as computer companies want you to think.  It's horribly dependent on patent licensing and social trends.  It has huge setbacks due to marketing.  And it is, in the end, just another thing in your life that requires money.  So if consumers aren't walking around holding umbrella's, then it will be more of a drizzle than a downpour.