I can’t help but think we have entered a new phase of technology, a world where the only thing faster than speed and acceleration of technological development, is the speed an acceleration of our expectations of technology. It’s a bizarre world where it’s never been more hard to amaze people, and it’s frequently the case that linear improvements are disappointing and only new paradigm shifts can generate real excitement.
We should be amazed right now. We have devices that can do things we could barely dream about 5 years ago, but yet rather than feeling routinely amazed, we often get a more significant feeling of frequent disappointment. I am more guilty that most, I proclaimed widely after getting an iPhone 5 that is was basically a waste of space, while begrudgingly acknowledging it also happened to be, pretty much the best phone ever made in the entire world.
So with all this incredible technology and when we look around us we see frowns and not smiles. The small child who looks perplexed after using an iPad that the 50 inch OLED TV in their parents house doesn’t work when they try to swipe between channels.
To me, as a tech loving 33rd year old who should relish the in seat screen on jetblue flights but instead compares the screen to an iPad and finds it lacking. It’s a disease that’s spreading, it’s moving away from tech leaders and the young and gradually towards older and less involved people, my parents are now fully satisfied by Apple TV and Spotify but they are not amazed, like they were when the iPod came out.
It wasn’t like this before. My $800 mini disc recorder that I saved for weeks to buy was something that did things I could not dream about and stunned me for years. I never looked at a DVD recorder and thought it was lacking, if I got on a 767 and it had my own TV screen, it was like a gift from above. Something has happened to me where I find most things around me rather lacking.
Now we live in an age of technological entitlement, the moment a technology is available in one place we expect it to be employed immediately, ubiquitously, and without error. When Dyson vacuums and iPods are designed so beautifully, why does my Microwave have 39 buttons, 8 of which are only there to be used to change the time? In a world where HBO go can look so beautiful, how is it that the Time Warner remote control and user interface looks like something from 2001? If Google maps can aggregate the position of every single Gmaps user, find out their speed, aggregate this and show me traffic speeds on every road around me, how is it that the MTA in New York can’t tell me when the next train is due?
In the words of Louis CK , talking about wifi on planes : “How quickly is it, that the worlds owes us something, we didn’t know existed only 5 seconds ago”
We are all spoilt, we expect to be in control of everything, for immediate satisfaction and personalization. I have a feeling this sense of amazement of what is possible, but disappointment about how it’s implemented and distributed will be a theme to many of my blog posts. I hope it seems more like a reflection my anticipation and excitement of the potential of new technology more than it seems like I’m a entitled idiot with first world problems.