Thursday, October 15, 2009

Technology: Foreseen/Unforeseen: (Mobile Phones & The Segway Scooter)

One of the most fascinating aspects of technology is it's unpredictability. We are about as good at predicting what will stick as we are knowing what will be a smash-hit pop song or movie. Even more confounding are surprising ways in which technology is ultimately adopted and used.

See my previous essay:
Technology and Culture: The foreseen and the unforeseen.

A piece in last month's Economist: Eureka moments: How a luxury item became a tool of global development, discussed the remarkable impact of the mobile phones on developing countries.
How did a device that just a few years ago was regarded as a yuppie plaything become, in the words of Jeffrey Sachs, a development guru at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, “the single most transformative tool for development”? A number of things came together to make mobile phones more accessible to poorer people and trigger the rapid growth of the past few years. The spread of mobile phones in the developed world, together with the emergence of two main technology standards, led to economies of scale in both network equipment and handsets. Lower prices brought mobile phones within reach of the wealthiest people in the developing world. That allowed the first mobile networks in developing countries to be set up, though prices were still high.


Compare the mobile phone initially "regarded as a yuppie plaything" and the Segway scooter. The Segway at the time of it's unveiling was declared a revolutionary invention that would transform the world (in particular developing nations) but has thus far turned out to be a rather silly plaything. In most of my sighting the scooter is being used for marketing promotions. Of course, it may be too early to tell what will become of the Segway. Afterall, if history teaches us anything, it's that nobody knows anything.




Image above from my post titled: Chariots of Hummus

2 comments:

r4 card said...

I am waiting to see this new technology Mobile phone & The Seaway Scooter.

John said...

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