Monday, October 09, 2006

Tech: How technology really propagates

Just reading an article about the competition for the consumer's precious moments of attention. It mentioned that the ABC programme The Chaser's War On Everything (a satire/sketch series) experienced more downloads than actual people who watched it.

(I was also going to post on an Australian award-winning device that allowed a mobile phone to act as a projector, but of itself it's not a big deal.)

Yes, spectator attention is fracturing, but they're also globalising, so there's not necessarily a danger of losing audience.

No, I was really musing on the tendency to pack functionality into devices such as mobile phones (computers by another name), and the way it's been happening. The best way for a technology to progress rapidly is by fast consumer takeup, which encourages more investment in the technology. And the medium, essentially, has been the mobile phone. My PDA has all the functionality of a small computer, and has had all the functionality that is only now being stuffed into phones (bar a projector!).

But a PDA is not really a mass consumer device in the same way that a mobile phone is. Hence, the phone is a back door to enabling technology to rapidly spread to the world's population - in a way that has more personal meaning than a tv or a landline phone.

I don't think any science fiction writer could have envisaged personal technology spreading in this way. The human factor is not easily susceptible to prediction. Remember that, if you're trying to forecast the world of the future - say 20 years' time.

No comments: