Dan Appleman: Kibitzing and Commentary

My personal blog

This week, Wired posted two articles on device convergence: Five Gadgets That Were Killed by the Cellphone and Seven (More) Gadgets Killed by the Cellphone. I responded in my Examiner.com column first with Five Gadgets that were supposedly killed by the cellphone, but aren’t dead yet and today with Five gadgets that won’t get killed by the cellphone.
It wasn’t really until my second response that I really tuned in to the real philosophical difference between my approach and that of Wired. I get a sense, reading the Wired columns, that there is a fundamental approach that convergence is good and inevitable, and that ultimately cell phones will become good enough and powerful enough to effectively obsolete everything else.
Now, I’m enough of an Science Fiction fan to concede that someday this may be true – it’s quite possible that in a century or so we’ll all have cell phones embedded in our skulls providing full 3D sensory communication and gaming experiences, while shooting photos through our optically enhanced eyes and quietly irradiating our brains.
But barring breakthrough of that magnitude, it seems to me that the Wired columns, like those of many authors, are far too focused on the technology and not nearly enough on the people who use it, and how they relate to it. For example: it’s easy to look at teens and young adults and how they have adopted and use certain technology and assume that is the future for everyone. But you can’t really extrapolate that way until you’ve seen what happens once they get older. The constant text messages and Facebook posts of the young 20-something professional might be replaced by something else once she’s a harried mother trying to maintain a career.
I invite you to visit my column at Examiner.com, where I’ll always try to remember that the people are more important than the gadgets. And I’ll continue to post here on my blog additional commentary that doesn’t quite fit in the column itself.