Sunday, January 02, 2011

We Can, But Should We?

Now and then something comes along to provide a succinct illustration of a complex problem that would require lots of words to describe.  Yahoo's list of 10 things to avoid in 2011 provided a great example of why I'm a little slow to accept new technologies.  Read the words within the red box above.

It's not that I'm against new technology, it's that I'm not one to support racing to market with things that are not well thought-out and I'm unwilling to waste my time and money on "beta" products that serve mostly to assist over-anxious marketeers in their quest to get to market first with their wares.  Wait a couple of years, the bugs will be ironed out, and the marketeers will be focused on the next generation while closing out the things that are now debugged and reliable.  It's always been the best time to make your purchase.

I suppose it's the age-old battle between sales and production within a company.  "Sell the sizzle" scream the marketeers while "the damned thing doesn't work and it's dumb" grumble the production folks.  "Never mind" say the bosses, "ship it."

The coffee maker described above illustrates something that can happen when one company faction has technical skills, but no common sense, another faction builds it even though it's dumb, and the boss knows nothing more than how to read a balance sheet.

Apply this illustration to almost anything you see that causes you to wonder if people are really dumb enough not only to build it, but also to buy it and you could probably explain why so many dumb things occur.

And keep in mind that the techie crowd is pushing to operate airliners without pilots and the bosses can see only the balance sheet where the reduction in labor costs would appear as an increase in earnings.  Can it be done?  Well, it's being done now where armed drones over Afghanistan are being remotely "flown" from Tampa, FL.

We can...but should we?  Call me old school...I would not get onto an airplane without a pilot; in fact, I wouldn't get on one flown by a pilot named Kristin or Misty, either.  But that's just me.


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