Yes, I skipped last week’s newsletter due to travel, so catching up this week. Wherever you are, I hope you’re 1) safe, 2) warm, but not too warm (that rules out most of the Eastern US), and 3) not injured due to the acquisition of new technology (see below).
With Changeist’s Thingclash
project, we focus primarily on the frictions created when rapidly emerging classes of technologies collide with slower moving social, economic or cultural values. Christmas 2015 has delivered frictions galore. It’s the first big holiday for the hoverboard, and the first one where drones are truly mainstream. On my journey back to the US for the holiday period, I passed countless displays of both being hawked to travelers. In an electronics supermart I entered in one city (helping a relative try to buy a TV), both were stacked to the proverbial ceiling, and shopping carts exiting the building were full of them. Yet, their future owners probably had zero preparation to manage either (true of many technologies). The results, as they say, speak for themselves below.
There’s something about the scale and physical nature of these new technologies that make them slightly more problematic out of the box, akin to what we’re seeing now with self-driving cars, for example. A new game console or smartphone requires more personal scale adaptations, around things like privacy or public noise levels or use of cameras. Things that move, and move us, become more complex. We have no norms for them yet, much like those afflicted with the first automobiles had to deal with. Both may yet turn out to be revolutionary and useful, but we’re getting a few bumps and bruises along the way. As other kinetic devices emerge, and erupt quickly from rapid-fire supply chains, we’ll see more of these derp moments.