Saturday, 23 March 2013

Technology popularity

I don't understand why there are people afraid of using technology.  In general my social circle is inside of tech and being so it's pretty much what I'm expect from people. Using smartphones, using internet and more or less using what's available around. And yet when I meet people outside of it it's so strange when they have no idea how beneficial technology is.

I just had a very deep conversation lately about smartphones. I'm using it all the time and one of my common question is from other folks is how they are using it. And sometimes the answer is - they don't need it. The reason most times is that it's not that useful, or just not interesting enough. It doesn't differ that much from a PC and why would they use services like Twitter or Foursquare.

I'm quite liberal in the sense that I try to really understand what others are saying. Truth is somewhere between facts and habits, so nobody should be too stubborn to accept others' customs. Nonetheless technology is a bit different from being a simple habit or hype.

Technology is a singularity and clearly the main accelerator of innovation and universal evolution. Not because technology is the root of everything. It's clearly a tool that helps anything else. In all fields of science the only key of growth is collecting information, getting results and coming up with structural patterns. Basically the only blocker at all time is the unknown factor. Because information needs processing and that costs time we either wait or accelerate it. But as a matter of fact complexity grows exponentially everywhere. Biology, mathematics, chemistry, economy, politics, etc. If you see development from the past, hundreds of thousands of years before now - every tool had to be evolved in order to keep up with effectiveness.

But that't the big picture. You probably don't need the fastest crypto algorithm in your everyday life. Oh well, maybe you need, in fact. Technology affects on the small parts as well. To just emphasize one benefit - it makes everything more accessible. Wikipedia anytime, communication anytime, maps anytime, games anytime, you name it. Some doesn't use Twitter or Instagram, so what. I started and quit already hundreds of services, it wasn't for me. But I use 10 - 20 services on a daily basis. And because I am able to do so, it changed my lifestyle too. It's like a fat guy with a bucket of Smarties. It's so close you don't even realize you eat it all the time.

I don't really use my phone for calling. It's mostly apps and internet. It's kinda strange to look back, when I was at the uni I didn't have internet at home. I had to go to the campus with my 10 floppies and download the RedHat packages and then came back the next day for the dependencies - and the following day for the other dependencies.

And yet smartphone is just a temporary medium to provide technology having it in the current best accessible form. When Google glass will be public then we're almost at a comfortable level with smooth everyday usage. But till then people need to be familiar with technology. My belief is that social is one tier that will be aimed by technology - even if not 100% but a huge part.

Imagine how many things will disappear when technology will be so advanced that most people will use it. Street signs will be replaced by apps. Healthcare will be replaced by implanted life-care devices. Human drivers replaced by automated cars. Huge garderobes will be replaced by smart weather-adjusted clothes. Books will disappear. TV will disappear. I could continue whole night.

So why would anybody say no to technology?




  1. You don't get it. They don't say no to technology. They are actively against it. The technology is something they don't know. There will be no work for cabdrivers, doctors etc. It's good only for fast people who can and want to catch up with the trends. Who's slow practically doesn't need the technology, at least not directly. They personally avoid all the change and complexity you mentioned and they are successful at it. Imagine a day, when you don't want to try something new, you don't want to solve a puzzle or build something for others. I know it's hard to you, but at least half of the people (even from the university) I know just wants eat, drink, sleep and f*ck. You don't need the tech for that.

    1. Hi There, I see it differently. Your concept is valid, however it's missing the human component. Technology is great but human will keep it on leash, for sure. At least for a while. As far as it's simple tools it's gonna be all right. We might replace taxi drivers - as computer driver vehicles can drive more safe than other human. But technology was never about to replace habits or workforce. It needs control and coordination. Just see how AI is evolving. As far as I know the latest experiments including a human element - just because cooperation is more efficient in many ways. Performance and costs as well.
      About people who just don't like technology - it's not about fancying with apps or machines. It will be pushed to you no matter what. You either use technology or you will encounter unresolvable disadvantages in life. Non-interactive technology is already everywhere. Your clothes, eyeglasses, food, vehicles, furniture and much more. Interactive is more visible, of course, such as devices or services, apps. Twitter reached 'normal' people not long ago, such as Facebook. Smartphones are doing it right now. It may sound scary - but there is no escape. As I see it it's a gift - like medicine. Some you might not trust - but others definitely improve (if not save) your life.

  2. For this article, you chose as illustration an image of a micromechanics-driven artificial gecko.

    That's an exceptionally lucky choice - as it helps me to first discover and then describe my point:

    Okay, so would I trust this artificial gecko more or the one God put on Earth originally?

    This easy it is. In the cases where I don't really trust technology I actually don't trust the people behind that technology to the extent they would love me to trust them.

    What is my reason for that?
    Because I believe man's knowledge and even the chance to percieve things is limited (by design). I on the other hand believe that God's knowledge and perception is broader.

    So when people come forward with fresh digital solutions to replace already existing more-natural-appearing/or just more mature solutions, and they step up in a way that suggests that they are taking responsibility with what they are doing, I just think they can not really.

    On the micro scale:
    many products' first generation is admittedly barely more than a prototype, that may be evolved through many iterations to reach a decent form - if consumer interest can finance the development. But these prototypes aren't really tested, aren't really known even to the producers. They may get a chance later to discover and fix issues, if the development reaches an n-th iteration. See TV or CRT monitors as an example: how long did it take before they realized it can hurt people's eyes?

    On the macro scale:
    However smart they are, technology pioneers - for the reason of above discussed limited knowledge and perception - are also subject to big surprises (if they at all are able to open their eyes to the facts that should surprise them). They are not even close to be aware of what global changes their work may trigger, and where that may lead. How could they assume responsibility upon failure? See (public)education as an example: under the effects of the internet, on many fronts it has become crisis-handling; I heard small children in an average Budapest class may not be subject to read a tale to: they are just unable to focus attention on something that is not flickering with a rate at 'n' hertz/become interested.

    So for this reason I don't join in celebrating technology breaktroughs. I may on the other hand adapt gradually, and may pick up with the benefits technology offers to me (information-pool provided by the internet, hardware to access it, "webdesigner" job). But I make the effort to do it in a balanced way, being loyal to proven and satisfactory methods, and always trying to be aware of all the aspects (and the price that the new things may cost (not cash-wise)).

    1. I think the example about children and attention is an exceptionally good one. Those kids are definitely affected by the increasing information flow. I have even seen it among my peers. But that's I think not a problem at all. They are actually leveling up to this new system. Since the age of information overload there is simply no time for old things, such as reading long novels. It's not effective. It's not effective to think about a poem the whole summer or have a European trip on a horse. Of course - there can be health implications, the human body may not be able to keep up with the speed at the same pace. But that's fine, we're all adjustable. We won't be easily overloaded, your brain is quite smart.

      I wouldn't respond to God, it's a personal matter and being so there is no way of quantifying it. However just one word about how we trust. I'm idealistic by nature. I know technology and everything above a certain level is politics. But technology has a speciality that it can be controlled by technology. You have to participate in it on order to form it. I won't have electric dogs around my house, or robot friends. But I'd definitely trust more - for example - in a robot waiter - just because robots are great is small specific tasks. Manufacturers may not be as tender towards users as mums are for their babies, for sure. But it's nothing new. Dogs are eating cute rabbits and carnivore flowers are eating cute baby insects.

      As a final word I believe in technology it's even more important to participate then in politics - you have much more potential to affect on it.