Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that’s taken over our lives.
The world is rarely what it seems.
Vizer/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET
We like to think we’re complex — sophisticated, even.
I worry, though, that we’re actually simple beings with very simple needs.
This week, the great gadgetfest under the desert sky known as Consumer Electronics Show begins. Wise heads will talk about where tech is going, as if tech has a mind entirely of its own. Which I know some at Google believe it does.
I’d like, though, to look at it through the prism of an ad released last year by the Vizer security camera company.
It was created for the Thai market. It has a lesson for everyone going to CES, reading about CES or even dreaming about CES at 3 a.m.
It’s a story of a store owner who thinks he knows how the world works. He knows society is a chilling place where brutal decisions have to taken. It’s a place where right and wrong are blessedly clear. It’s a place where business has to be done and the homeless are merely detritus that should be swept from the streets.
In the ad, it’s his security camera that shows him that his world view is askew.
Might it be a lesson for the gadget industry?
Most of those flying to Vegas believe that this year it’s all about drones, self-driving cars, virtual reality, wearables and the marvelously all-encompassing Internet Of Things.
It’s as if technology is decreeing this is the way the world will go and people must — and will — follow.
However, how many of last year’s most exciting CES gadgets have changed the world? Any?
Perhaps the most talked about was the cord-cutters’ favorite SlingTV. This has made some inroads (and been mimicked), but not exactly altered our world view. It’s still TV, but delivered in a slightly different way. Gosh.
And surely you remember how excited people were about the Belty. This was the motorized belt that automatically adjusted as you got larger and, who knows, smaller. This hasn’t emerged into the marketplace at all yet.
For all the exciting concept cars and flying machines shown last year, the real world has moved a little more slowly.
We’ve started talking to our gadgets a little more. We’ve found different ways to chat with each other via gadgets. But for the ordinary human, what was the most impactful and inspiring gadget of 2015? I submit it was the humble hoverboard.
So as you watch the Thai store owner realize that the world isn’t how it seems, it’s worth paying attention to the ad’s final message: “There’s much more truth that you are blind to.”
Self-driving cars might turn out to save lives, as they bore some to death. Regulation, however, might mean their introduction isn’t as swift as some tech leaders promise.
The Internet Of Things might surge into excited households, as family members are mesmerized by fridges that order milk for them. Or it might be subject to the strife of getting a thousand Internet Of Things gadgets to communicate with each other.
I have a fear that getting gadgets to talk to each other is going to be even more difficult than getting people to do it.
Perhaps we’re so fascinated by virtual reality because we’re already living in it. Perhaps the distortion field that used to belong to Steve Jobs is now shared by everyone in tech.
There’s still more truth that we are blind to. Some of it might be visible at CES, but we’ll need to work hard to find it.
Search where the simple needs are. They aren’t in drones.