Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

CES 2016

It's time to Put! A! Phone! On! It! Put! Some! Wheels! On! It! Put! A! Spin! On! It!
-- h/t to @lginiger who is my go-to CES atrocity exhibitionist


jimf said...
On Display at CES, Tech Ideas in Their Awkward Adolescence
Farhad Manjoo
JAN. 6, 2016

It’s a cliché for journalists to whine about International CES,
the annual consumer electronics show that brings gadget-hounds
and billionaires like a nerdy plague upon Las Vegas this week. . .

We’re at a weird moment in the industry: The best new stuff is
not all that cool, and the coolest stuff isn’t quite ready. . .

In product labs across the world, engineers and designers are
working to turn a collection of annoying buzzwords —-
artificial intelligence, virtual reality, wearables, the
“Internet of things,” autonomous cars and drones —-
into products that we find irresistible. . .

But that future will take a few years to pan out. In the meantime,
you can expect to be bombarded with early versions of tomorrow’s
tech that are bound to feel janky and incomplete. Welcome to
Prototype World. . . during which everything new will more
or less stink.

“It’s like the junior high years in technology,” . . .
“We’re in those awkward teenage years where everything looks
and feels funky.”

Virtual reality will underwhelm, artificial intelligence will feel
annoyingly unintelligent, and cars and drones that navigate
themselves will seem safer when parked. There will be wearables
you won’t want to wear and home devices that will make you
want to buy a new place. . .

The Wizard: Can I believe my eyes? Why have you come back?

Dorothy: Please sir, we've done what you told us. We brought
you the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West.
We melted her.

The Wizard: Oh, you liquidated her, eh? Very resourceful.

Dorothy: Yes, sir. So we'd like you to keep your promises, if you please, sir.

The Wizard: Not so fast, NOT SO FAST! I'll have to give the matter a
little thought. Go away and come back tomorrow.

Dorothy: Tomorrow? Oh, but I want to go home now!

Tin Man: You've had plenty of time to think already!

Cowardly Lion: Yeah!


Dale Carrico said...

Shorter Manjoo on CES2016: This techbro circle jerk over consumer crap might seem played out but tech is really about To! Change! Everything! Skeptics of the hype are "whining."

jimf said...

> tech is really about To! Change! Everything! Skeptics of the hype are "whining."

Our skeptrolling is a testimonial to the sickness and, yes,
outright evil, of our tiny hate-filled minds.

jimf said...
Visit to the World's Fair of 2014
August 16, 1964

. . .

By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use.
Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors
that will change at the touch of a push button.

Windows need be no more than an archaic touch, and even when
present will be polarized to block out the harsh sunlight.
The degree of opacity of the glass may even be made to alter
automatically in accordance with the intensity of the light
falling upon it. . .

Robots will neither be common nor very good in 2014, but they
will be in existence. The I.B.M. exhibit at the present fair has
no robots but it is dedicated to computers, which are shown in
all their amazing complexity, notably in the task of translating
Russian into English. If machines are that smart today, what
may not be in the works 50 years hence? It will be such computers,
much miniaturized, that will serve as the "brains" of robots.
In fact, the I.B.M. building at the 2014 World's Fair may have,
as one of its prime exhibits, a robot housemaid -- large, clumsy,
slow-moving but capable of general picking-up, arranging,
cleaning and manipulation of various appliances. It will undoubtedly
amuse the fairgoers to scatter debris over the floor in order to
see the robot lumberingly remove it and classify it into
"throw away" and "set aside." (Robots for gardening work will
also have made their appearance.)

General Electric at the 2014 World's Fair will be showing
3-D movies of its "Robot of the Future," neat and streamlined,
its cleaning appliances built in and performing all tasks
briskly. (There will be a three-hour wait in line to see the
film, for some things never change.)

The appliances of 2014 will have no electric cords, of course,
for they will be powered by long-lived batteries running on
radioisotopes. The isotopes will not be expensive for they
will be by-products of the fission-power plants which, by 2014,
will be supplying well over half the power needs of humanity.
But once the isotope batteries are used up they will be disposed
of only through authorized agents of the manufacturer.

And experimental fusion-power plant or two will already exist
in 2014. . . Large solar-power stations will also be in operation
in a number of desert and semi-desert areas. . . An exhibit
at the 2014 fair will show models of power stations in space,
collecting sunlight by means of huge parabolic focusing devices
and radiating the energy thus collected down to earth. . .

Jets of compressed air will. . . lift land vehicles off the highways. . .

[V]ehicles with "Robot-brains" -- vehicles that can be set for
particular destinations and that will then proceed there without
interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver. . .

For short-range travel, moving sidewalks. . .

Compressed air tubes will carry goods and materials. . .

[Y]ou will see as well as hear the person you telephone. . .

[Y]ou will be able to reach someone at the moon colonies. . .
However, by 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars. . .

As for television, wall screens will have replaced the ordinary set;
but transparent cubes will be making their appearance in which
three-dimensional viewing will be possible. . .

One can go on indefinitely in this happy extrapolation, but
all is not rosy. . .