i am a long-time avid technologist. i began my tech career in the Apple world but moved to Enterprise Solutions later.
People fear change, it keeps them up at night. But the next day they stand in line to change their cell phone.
One of the things that you have to consider when pursuing the future is the potential for dystopia—the utter failure of human society. One of the usual reasons writers choose is the overall significant technical debt human society has accumulated. Technical debt is a software architecture terminology it describes systems that will ultimately cost money. Money in the sense that it is not easy to upgrade, improve or replace that technology. Technical debt is what the cost of migration is trying to mitigate. So as we think about the future, we always have to consider the technical debt; I'm part of our future now as a world is the technical debt of climate change. I want to say that that is a debt easily paid, but unfortunately, it is a debt that will take time and money. The potential for dystopia is great if humans can't fix climate change in the near term. My thesis for this work today is that change is only dangerous if it is happening to you.
Change is one thing that many people fear. If we consider just one industry and the evolution in the last 30 years, the amount of change is massive. But, many people rush out and get the newest of this technology. The fear of change is less because the value of the new features is critical. I am talking about cell phones. In 1997 or so, when the first digital phones arrived, you have more call quality but no data on that phone. Now, there are so many features that weren't in those first phones. GPS, Cameras, Applications, Storage, data, and so many other things. For some people, that phone is always on!
So let's pull that string a little bit, the change of cellular devices over. Now in part, this acceptance of change comes from the fact that companies that manufacture phones and operating systems have gotten a lot smarter. Back in the early 2000s, when you upgraded your phone's operating system, it was a complete wipe and fresh install. You removed the old operating system and replaced it with the new version of the operating system. Once the new Operating System finished installing, you had two options. Option one was manually reinstall all your applications. Option two was to use one of the many backup software packages and hope the restore worked. The phone's operating system also didn't tell you that applications you were trying to install were incompatible with the new operating system. I give you one last example of how companies have gotten smarter, the last time I upgraded my iPhone, the restore from iCloud put the applications back into the folders I had put them in. One of the things I used to do was move all my applications into a folder structure after upgrading to the newest OS.
So again, my original thesis was that change around us is only bad when it happens to us. Change can be scary. The concept of change is great. If it's happening to your neighbor, it's happening to you. It's scary. But the reality of that is people embrace change if it benefits them. What is the problem then? The reality of perceived benefit can be difficult to sell. People rely on their cell phones, so an upgrade to the cell phone that makes it more functionally capable for the user is something people embrace. When the first cell phone cameras appeared, the cameras were, well, average to mediocre. They were poor to poor. As manufacturers increased and improved the quality of the camera in the cell phone, it began to change the market. Was the change adding a camera to a cell phone? The impact, everyone needed a new phone with a camera!
Before the late 1990s, the concept of cameras involved film. By the early 2000s, film cameras were dying, and digital cameras were taking over. The functional capability of the digital camera was infinitely better than the functional capability of a film camera. I didn't have to take my film to the drugstore to have it developed. In the old days, you had the cost of the camera plus the cost of film plus the cost of development. Now you suddenly had just the cost of a camera. But the move to better cameras on cell phones started to kill the digital camera revolution.
The cell phone camera reduced the digital camera market by a lot!
The difference being, with the digital camera, like a film camera before it, you had to remember to put it in your pocket or remember to wear it around your neck. With your cell phone, it was already in your pocket. The other thing that one should note is that while the evolution from film to digital cameras probably tripled if not quadrupled the number of pictures taken any year, the move to the cell phone has probably increased the number of digital pictures taken tenfold beyond that. So now those with digital cameras are the holdouts. Or those who seek specialty cameras. I still have a digital camera because I have a camera to take pictures underwater. Yes, my iPhone can go underwater and take pictures. But my phone is my lifeline; I am not getting it wet! Plus, the digital camera that takes underwater pictures is better suited for that.
Based on my original thesis, people eventually embrace change. But the opposite is true; people don't embrace change. Organizations make change easier for people. For example, I still know people that upgrade their cell phones once every five or six years—the concept of good enough works for them. But, of course, I also know people that upgrade their phones every year. I know that I upgraded my phone last year, but that was simply because 5G was available on the newest iPhone. 5G is a capability that is a game-changer, and I felt like I needed 5G. Having had 5G now for almost six months, I was right; I needed it!
So I will end by looking back around to my original thesis. Change is only dangerous if it is happening to you. That applies to society, technology, and people. But change can also be a really good thing. I know that there are probably 600 pictures of me between the ages of birth and six years old because my father was an avid photographer. My daughter, born right at the birth of digital cameras, has about 1200 pictures from the same time... She would have more, but unfortunately, due to a hard drive crash, we lost about 2000 early pictures. One of the futurist things I'm going to talk about in the future is the concept of backups. But that's a post for another day. The twins, who arrived about six years after my daughter, have around 6000 pictures. So throughout my lifetime to the birth of the twins several years ago, the number of pictures taken by knee or of me increased tenfold. I suspect if I had a child now, that number would be closer to 20,000. I'll end simply with the following yes changes dangerous what happens to you. Change, in and of itself, can be scary. Until you go back and consider all the changes that I guess the dystopian future I see now at you accept now as de rigor., It is one where JPEG, GIF, BMP, and other modern picture types are suddenly formats that no future application reads. I have a million pictures of yesterday and no way to share them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 DocAndersen