Sunday, January 27, 2013


A co-worker of mine just went to Las Vegas to attend the Consumer Electronics Trade Show where so many tech companies were showing off their new gadgets with all of the latest in technological wizardry. If you are into that sort of thing, it’s THE place to be, I guess. From new fangled Smartphones, to the latest in computer technology, to smart watches, to even bigger screen televisions, there’s something for everyone’s inner geek.

I am pretty sure that since the beginning of time someone has tried to predict what the future holds as far as technological advances go. It's amazing to go back to the old Popular Science magazines and see what was predicted for the future forty, fifty or sixty years ago. Flying cars in everyone’s driveway, jet packs, robot maids, Earth colonies on Mars, underwater Sea Cities, time travel, full meals in a pill and domed cities were all past predictions of what the future had in store. Some of these things are making there way closer to fruition while others are still a long way off yet.

Like a lot of other people I am both fascinated and intimidated by all of the new technological advances. Sure, I have my share of gadgets like my Smartphone and a tablet and I’ve even managed to become more computer literate than I ever thought I'd need to be, but, on the other hand, these gadgets are time consumers and are advancing far quicker than I can keep up.

For me, it’s a patience, or impatience, as it were, kind of thing. Being a slow learner and a member of the “I’ll read the instructions later” group I just don’t want to spend the amount of time that is required to educate myself on the equipment’s functions. I want to be able to do it right now! But it never seems to work that way, does it?

Take this Jawbone thing that’s the latest health and fitness gadget. According to my sources, “the UP by Jawbone is composed of a wristband that syncs with an app on your iPhone or iPad to inspire you to live healthier. The hi-tech wristband uses motion sensors that detect movement and algorithms to chart your sleep patterns and wake you up at the best moment during your natural sleep cycle. ('like that's a good thing?') You can use the UP app to track your food habits by keeping a food journal of all of your meals. To ensure you stay productive, you can program the wristband to give you a gentle reminder to move every now and then by setting it to vibrate if you haven't moved in a while."

This is all very neat and everything but should one really need a piece of jewelry to remind them of something that they should remember anyway? Despite its high techiness and its ability to track your algorithms I'm thinking that this UP unit is still going to require a fair bit of administration to chart your menus and eating habits and if you aren't a really efficient data entry clerk your exercise time might be eaten up by the programming time. Just saying.

Yes, I'm as interested as anyone with life being made easier by technological advances but one always has to be careful with relying on technology as a replacement for human thought and action.

"The march of science and technology does not imply growing intellectual complexity in the lives of most people. It often means the opposite"-Thomas Sowell (1930-).

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