When I was a child, I watched an episode of Star Trek (TNG), fell in love and my life’s trajectory was forever changed. As many Engineers are, I was thrilled with the idea of the future. I wanted to explore the stars, to understand the locked and hidden secrets of the universe. I was fascinated with the idea of technology and exploration. As I grew up technology moved forward by leaps and bounds. And then something happened. Something faded and things seemed to level out.
In the 80’s I had my x286 had DOS and Windows 3.1. This was my learning adventure into computers. I was surrounded by highly intelligent children in my neighborhood and we would often pair program or create code solutions and software. As we learned, technology moved forward at a lightning pace. X286 moved to x386 then came optical drives and iphones/ipads.
Technology was highly exciting during these years. Everything seemed to be new and exciting. Then something happened. What I am not quite sure, how? I have no idea, why? again no clue…. Things got boring. Ideas and technology stagnated. We narrowed from countless cellphone OS’s to 2. Count them 1…2.
We migrated from PlasmaHD Tv’s to 4K TV’s (More pixels, better clarity). Shiny refrigerators emerged with WIFI connectivity. Toasters with bluetooth, and really terrible home automation came along with even work interoperability. The internet of things IoT sprang alive and now EVERYTHING wanted to hop onto the internet.
Honestly when looking at it though, TV’s have been around for 50 years. So has the refrigerator and toaster. Somehow we managed to slap an OLED screen and wifi onto technologically ancient gizmos and call it innovation. What we lost was creativity. We lost the ability to design technologies totally new and amazing. I understand that people at this point will criticize me and tell me that I am insane because their fridge now talks to their toaster and thats awesome…
So I pose this question to all technologists… how can we make the future of tech more creative? What contributions can we put forward or ideas can we conjure up to help move things forward?