More Useless Technology

I have another “Technology Is Useless” post.

Kara Swisher of AllThingsD was on Gavin Newsom’s show in a segment called “There’s a lot of big minds chasing small ideas“.

She says everything in the Valley is overhyped. Then why are you there? She talks about how a lot of reporters hyped the Facebook IPO, then turned on it when it went south and they all said they saw it coming. She tried to chastise them. I say “tried” because she has no credibility. She also said Facebook is a significant company.  ‘Nuff said.

I have seen interviews with her where she has said that people outside the Valley just don’t “get it”. Maybe she doesn’t get it. She is the stereotypical Hillbilly With A Graduate Degree that we see all over the Valley. Lots of people east of the Sierra Nevada could have told you that most of what goes on in the Valley is stupid.

But she commits another fallacy. She calls the self-driven car a “big idea”. She says the Google glasses are a “big idea”. Just because something is a “big idea” does not mean it will work (self-driving car) or that it has any practical value (Google glasses). She says that we will see technology embedded in people. I will never allow anyone to embed anything in me. Anyone who has a tattoo is a slave. Why would I want anything embedded? Just because something is a “big idea” does not mean it is any good.

Plus, if someone can make a car that drives itself, can’t they figure out how to make an engine that runs on something other than petroleum?

Another example of useless technology that I heard about recently is a $6400 toilet. I heard about it on the New York Times Bits Tech Talk podcast.

Maybe I am not smart enough to be an engineer. But I think that it is pretty obvious that climate change is getting to be a big deal, and we need to get more energy sources to replace oil. Why are people working on fancy toilets and self-driving cars? Rich people and engineers working on anything other than peak oil and climate change are the technology version of Paul Krugman’s Very Serious People. If they are all so smart, why are they focusing on things that are trivial?

Ivory throne of Ivan IV of Russia from Wikipedia


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