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Is technology always good?

There have been a couple of stories that caught my attention recently that have made me take a step back and think about technology and how we use it (or don't).

At the end of January, LG and Sony, the last two companies manufacturing 3D TVs, announced that they would cease production. Last October it was reported that sales of smartwatches are in decline. Remember when the research world went nuts over the potential of Google Glasses?

A frustration I have with technology is that, sometimes, it feels like it’s released just because it exists rather than a company actually taking a step back and thinking, hey, do people actually need this? Will it make their life any better? And this doesn’t only relate to hardware: I’ve just read about a survey claiming that a mere 22% of all installed apps are ever used more than once.

As researchers we need to be the consumer voice of reason, so next time you’re researching new-fangled exciting technology summon your inner suspicion, ignore all the hype and question, what is the actual consumer benefit? Is this mainstream, or just technology for the sake of it? It might not make you popular, but at least you can say I told you so if it ends up being a fad!

And now you know why I’m called Doctor Doom in the office…

 

Colin Rice
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