Technology never changes like we think

January 9, 2012 Off By guestauthor

Future TechnologyThis is a guest post by Asha Stuttard. Asha is a technology writer with OMR UK.
If the history of technology development teaches us anything – it’s that it won’t happen as quickly as we think – nor in the direction we think most likely.
Remember all those science fiction shows of the 1950s, 60s and 70s? We now look at most of them with a wry “weren’t they crazy back then?” smile. But whilst they may have been tongue in cheek, they were also reasonably thought out projections of our future lives.
By now, we were all supposed to riding in noiseless solar powered cars that didn’t require drivers, merely coordinates. We were also supposed to be flying around easily in small individual flying saucers – or at the very least jetpacks.
And bringing things more up to date proves just how foolish we all continue to be. It’s just a dozen years since a few dotcom boom companies were anticipated to be ruling the world a few years’ hence.
And where are they now?
The same is true for driving. New car offers today pretty much always include things like navigation systems which have become one of life’s essentials – but who really thought the traditional road atlas would become so quickly obsolete? As for the vehicles themselves, conventional wisdom has it that we’ll all be driving tiny lightweight cars around enlarged cityscapes a few years from now, making today’s cutting edge hybrid technology seem antiquated. Except that “driver” will be the wrong term as the cars will automatically be navigating us around.
History has shown us that this either won’t happen in reality – or if and when it does, it will look very different from the way we imagine it now.
So don’t get drawn in too early. Be suspicious and distrustful of new technology – no matter what seems to be superior in actual usage. After all, if it was all about technical superiority, we should have spent the 80s and 90s watching Betamax videos!
What technology predictions make you laugh today? And what are you glad didn’t happen? How about the thought of living on instant food supplements? Tell us your technology-prediction stories and thoughts in the comments.