As the digital revolution spins off new and incredible products and services I take pause to consider the incredible inventory of stuff that we did not know we needed and soon will be unable to live without.
Innovations don’t always have an obvious market and naysayers love to condemn before fully understanding that people want convenience, ease and time-saving contraptions that just make life incrementally better. Big breakthroughs are rare. However, dozens of modest gadgets will change the way thousands, possibly millions, of people live and work.
Even the big breakthroughs are often overlooked as social change agents. Just before World War II, the venerable New York Times failed to see the future of one of the most important inventions of the 20th Century. They predicted something called “television” would fail because families would not have time to stop and stare at a glass screen for more than a few minutes.
A number of new devices are now on the market that helps us find our lost things – like keys, wallets, phones. And while I don’t do product reviews, these gizmos will soon the way we behave because very soon we won’t have to remember as much.
With names like Stick and Find, Click N Dig, Cobra Tag and BIKN (“beacon”) all are small and attachable to key rings, cameras, inside wallets and such. Some use radio waves and some are Bluetooth. All are typically under $50 and most average around $25.
Now, if you couple the fact that with smartphones and miniature digital video cameras we can save a perfect image of our past at little cost. Storage is no longer an issue. I remember when film was an expensive proposition for most young families – you bought two or three rolls of film a year to capture just the marquis moments like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and such. Maybe you kept 60 to 100 images a year. Today, you shoot 100 shots of Junior’s soccer practice.
The point of all this is we will soon evolve as a species and our memories will be altered by digital technology. We will grow dependent upon external resources to support our simple memory tasks. Details of our seventh birthday will be documented with such comprehensive clarity we will depend upon visual and aural stimulation over the cerebral. No one can say how this will change us, but it will. Just as when the written word threatened the tribal storytellers. All for the good, I’m sure.
But, the myths of memory, the haunting images that float in the recesses of our mind, may soon diminish and disappear altogether. Especially when transhumans interface directly with digital storage during the age of the singularity.
But for now, I could use some help finding my keys and wallet.