I had some family in town over the weekend. It was their annual Christmas visit, a little late, but they took the time out to turn up.
As tends to be the case, the drinks were flowing and we talked, ate and played together as a family.
Between rounds of a board game, the conversation turned to smart watches which a couple of people present had recently acquired. The owners of the smart watches absolutely loved them. Me? I really couldn’t see the point, and as the discussion developed the subject broadened out to the “Internet of things”.
I could not come up with any practical reason why I would want an internet connected fridge, washing machine or toaster. After all, if I needed to activate any of those devices, I would want to be at home to do it, not thousands of miles away.
The previous day I had heard of a report from the CES show in Las Vegas, where people could buy smart hearing aids which were internet connected. The example given by the company representative was, if someone pushed the doorbell, the person with the hearing aid would be alerted, no matter where they were in the world.
I almost fell about laughing. What is the point in knowing someone has pressed my doorbell if I am not at home to answer the door.
And so the conversation continued. I queried the benefit of driverless cars.
I personally really enjoy driving. I find it therapeutic to go for a drive. The last thing I want if a blue screen appearing at 70mph when a computer is in control. Somehow hurtling towards another vehicle while tech support tells me “Have you tried rebooting” does not appeal to me.
Yet all the major technology companies seem to be involved in developing their own driverless cars.
Another subject that came up was Amazon’s drone delivery service, which seems to me to be another project where the technology, rather than common sense rules the roost. The biggest problem I have with mail order is being in when the delivery arrives. Setting up a landing station in my garden does not solve any problems relating to that from my point of view. I don’t want a parcel sitting in the garden for hours where it can be stolen.
As someone who has worked in the technology sector for over 25 years, I appeared to be the Luddite of the discussion.
Technology is great, but it has to solve a problem, not merely exist for technology’s sake.