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Technology – addressing our needs or creating them? December 23, 2009

Posted by kewroad in tv.

Technology is a mixed blessing at the best of times. The latest developments are often billed as the answer to all our problems, even ones we didn’t know even existed, and I am sure there are few must have gadgets currently residing under the Christmas tree.

The truth is that these gadgets and technological innovations are often overhyped and by the end of Boxing Day they have been cast off or returned to the shops for store credit or socks. So why is this? Surely people do not create new technology for technologies sake, but to fulfil a need or desire in our daily lives?

There are many examples of new technology coming to market in the past 12 months that promises much and delivers little. The recycling bin that “creates” new items from your used paper, a clock powered by dead insects and the PoGo Instant Digital Camera all spring (excuse the pun) to mind. These examples are really just a bit of fun, but there does seem to be a slightly worrying trend of using technology to drive consumerism to new levels, especially when it comes to the humble television.

Over the last few years we have gone from DVD to Blu-ray, standard definition to high definition and analogue to digital. When it comes to DVDs and standard definition I never really felt there was a quality issue, the picture is clear, the sound is good and this new wave of technology is not really something I was looking for.

Also, I don’t know about you but I remember only having 4 channels and still managing to find something to watch. The impending digital switchover however has meant my new television comes with all the Freeview bits built-in, so although not necessarily needed it has been embraced in my household. But just as we get our heads around this the BBC and other major broadcasters are now working on a whole new IPTV based platform called Project Canvas

It all seems a bit crazy to me, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” has always been a phrase that has resonated well with me and one I feel more people should listen to. One blog post is unlikely to turn the tide of the technology business and I will no doubt sell my “state of the art” tech on eBay for £50 in a couple of years as a somewhat “obsolete” piece of kit. I can’t help thinking how mad this is, can we not concentrate on coming up with technology to address the real issues instead of pointless ones?

Do we need a fan with no blades? Do we need “an app for that”? Or should we be looking at using tech to address environmental issues? Would our time not be better spent developing some innovative bit of tech that can accurately predict the weather or manage traffic jams? Also if we could learn to develop tech at a slower pace we wouldn’t need to spend so much time recycling it.

There are plenty of real world issues that need addressing and to be honest improving my TV watching experience is not high on my list, so just take a moment over the Christmas break and really think whether your favourite TV special would be better if the colour was slightly sharper or the sound slightly crisper.

I think you will realise that there are more important things that the technology world should be looking at in 2010 and beyond…



1. Tweets that mention Technology – addressing our needs or creating them? « Kew Road -- Topsy.com - December 23, 2009

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by GrantButlerCmbr, Chocolate. Chocolate said: RT @GBCPR: New blog post on Kew Road: Technology – addressing our needs or creating them? http://ow.ly/OV51 […]

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