Are You Prepared for Technological Extinction?


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English: asteroid 1
English: asteroid 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everywhere you look online there are cutting edge technologies and devices that are promising to revolutionize the way we work the web.  Everything from smart watches to computerized glasses are all the rage right now, along with all manner of wearable devices.  Some of these technologies may indeed prove to be game changers, producing a sea change that will leave more mundane technologies in their wake.  Others will wind up in the hi-tech bone heap.  Either way, as changes come at us faster and faster, we need to find a way to deal with technological extinction, or as I like to call it, "survival of the fastest."

We have all heard the doom and gloom predictions that never came true.  Remember Y2K or the solar flares that were predicted to bring our technology based society to a standstill during the 2013 solar maximum cycle, neither of which ever came to pass?  Sure you do.  While most prognostications have a tendency to generate anxiety based upon how often they are touted by the media, with few exceptions these predictions are much ado about nothing.  And even if they were to come to pass, like the dinosaurs 65 million years ago that wondered what that bright streak across the sky was all about, there isn’t a heck of a lot you can do about impending global catastrophes.

Technological Extinction has Happened Before


That’s not to say that localized tech extinction events do not occur.  As fate would have it they are the rule rather than the exception.  Remember quadrophonic sound, the Lisa computer, Betamax 
A Pioneer LaserDisc Recorder Deck. Author :
A Pioneer LaserDisc Recorder Deck. Author : (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
videotapes or the Laserdisc?  These were all clear cut examples of next generation technology that never caught on and
 ultimately disappeared from the face of the Earth.  All of the above mentioned technologies were clearly a cut above the competition.  All of them fell flat on their faces even though they were touted by some of the most successful companies in the world.  Worse still was the fact that there were many people who purchased these products and wholeheartedly believed that they were part of the technological elite. 

The case centered around Sony's manufacture of...
The case centered around Sony's manufacture of the Betamax VCR, which used cassettes like this to store potentially copyrighted information (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Betamax (also called Beta, and referred to as such in the logo) is a consumer-level analog videocassette magnetic tape recording format developed by Sony, released in Japan on May 10, 1975.[1] The cassettes contain .50 in (12.7 mm)-wide videotape in a design similar to the earlier, professional .75 in (19 mm) wide, U-matic format. The format is virtually obsolete, though an updated variant of the format, Betacam, is still used by the television industry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betamax

VHS may have won the war against Betamax but it, too, succumbed to technological extinction! DVD quickly supplanted it as the de facto video standard, followed by Blu-Ray. While many of these products became the progenitors to vastly more successful technology, such as the DVD and the Macintosh Computer, that was small consolation to those people who ponied up thousands of dollars to buy into the now defunct model.  Of course this is the price that early adopters pay to be the kids with the newest toys on the block.  This trend, like evolution, is not going to stop any time soon.  If anything with the uptick in the sheer volume of devices, apps and software that is created nowadays, if anything the rush toward technological extinction is healthier than ever.

Now it’s Happening Before Our Eyes


Blue Ray ?
Blu Ray ? (Photo credit: koke)
Take for example DVDs, they are already being replaced by Blu-Ray, which in turn is being replaced by solid-state storage devices (thumb drives and SD/MMC card) which will be replace by super high capacity non-volatile memory cards of various types. Each one of these technologies’ will duke it out for portable storage supremacy over the next 20 years.

Nook or Kindle, Who Will Win?


Back in 2009, Barnes and Noble introduced the Nook, which was touted a couple of years later as the “Best e-reader around” by Consumer reports.  Yet despite this high praise, the Nook has not managed to find wide enough acceptance to best the competition.  Like the Beta vs. VHS competition of the 1980s, the Nook vs. Kindle market is going to the competition, if the news from TechVoid is any indication.

Kindle vs Nook
Kindle vs Nook (Photo credit: jacobnmartinez)
“Barnes & Noble recently laid off several of its Nook staff recently, furthering doubts about the company’s long term sustainability in the ebook space. While a company spokesperson remained optimistic and made it clear that they would not be exiting the device business, it is uncertain how much longer they can compete successfully with Amazon.com in this area.” http://techvoid.com/2014/02/21/demise-barnes-noble-nook/

Buying From a Leading Brand Does Not Protect Your Investment


Many pundits reply that by aligning yourself with the right camp you can more or less prevent technological extinction from taking place.  They surmise that the popularity of leading brands makes purchasing next gen gear more or less bulletproof.  To that I point out that the Lisa was a next gen computer that was years ahead of the competition and was designed and built by none other than Steve Jobs at Apple Computer.  Designed during the early '80s as the logical evolution from the Apple II, the Lisa had a long list of features that were unheard of back in the early '80s, including a sophisticated hard-disk based operating system, support for up to 2 MB of RAM, a graphical user interface (GUI), a numeric keypad, a screen
Apple Lisa (Little Apple Museum)
Apple Lisa (Little Apple Museum) (Photo credit: Alvy)
saver and the first computer mouse.  Despite spending millions of dollars on TV ads featuring none other than Kevin Costner, Jobs threw in the towel after failing to sell more than 50,000 units. 

In fact it was due to the failure of Lisa that Steve Jobs found himself without a job when he was pushed out of Apple for a time.  Of course as time would tell, not only did Steve Jobs return to head Apple, but during his hiatus he helped turn another technological stepchild named Pixar that not even George Lucas could afford to keep running into one of the most prolific and profitable animation companies on the planet.

Take for Example, Google Glass


But that was then and this is now.  So while companies like Google may be the big kid on the block when it comes to search engine prowess, that doesn’t mean that everything they devise is necessarily gold plated.  Take Google Glass, a techno trial balloon launched in limited quantities a little more than a year ago.  When it comes to wearable technology, it doesn’t get more “in your face” than Glass.  (Or should I say on your face?)  While tens of thousands applied for the privilege of paying $1,500 apiece to don this wearable computer, the jury is not yet in on whether this device will become the next iPhone.  What is a certainty is that it has garnered a lot of media attention and not all of it good.

With such epithets as "Glass Hole" being used to designate Glass wearers and several lawsuits spawned by people who were wearing them being ejected from a number of eateries and movie theaters, it’s anybody’s guess if this latest hi-tech offering will make the grade.  Like Lisa, Glass is quite a bit pricier than any comparable computer device.  While you can purchase a laptop or tablet computer that performs many of the same things as Glass for under $500, in a recent survey of eBay, prices for Glass were in the $1,700 range.  And it doesn’t help that any number of high profile comedians has made Glass wearers a staple of the stand-up circuit.

Time for a Smart Watch?


But at least you can now buy and sell Glass online, which is more than I can say for the vaunted iWatch.  After spawning the computer wristwatch craze about a year back, Apple Computer has still to launch its own version of this wearable tech.  It was the rumor of an Apple smart watch that led electronics giant Samsung and entrepreneurial startup named Pebble to beat Apple to market with a concept they first coined.
My kronoz smart watch
My kronoz smart watch (Photo credit: chrisf608)

Now after more than a year, not only has the iWatch failed to make it to store shelves, but some industry authorities such as techradar.com are starting to wonder if it ever will/

“Rumors of an Apple smart watch have abounded since Pebble first hit the big time. The so-called iWatch has so far failed to materialize in 2013 but will we see Apple get in on the wrist-worn game in 2014?  We've rounded up all the rumors and speculation to keep things ticking (get it!). Which watch really seem likely and which ideas are complete Apple poppycock? Only time will tell.”

By looking back at all the prior technological trends, you will notice a very clear pattern. It the dance of evolution being played out as corporatizations battle it out, vying for best products in their category.  What you see is a time line that goes a little like this. XYZ Company invents a new product category and hold a short period of dominance. Stage 2 is when competition comes in and they players battle it out for supremacy. After several years of vying for the top position (or legal battles), a queasy standard will emerge just as a new replacement technology enters the fold. This evolutionary process is played out repeatedly ushering in “technological progress!”

New Emerging Technologies Are Poised to Replace This Trend


3D printer
3D printer (Photo credit: Indiana Public Media)
3D printers in particular will soon make it possible for average people to manufacture the own replacement parts and even whole finished products. Free databases of 3D models will make it possible for anyone to create all manner of devices without buying that device from the original manufacture! This technology will usher in the Technological extinction of corporations unless they adapt to this emerging trend.

As other next wave technologies emerge such as 3D printers, wearable's and the" Internet of Things" rear its technological head, you need to ask yourself this question. Are willing to plunk down a sta
ck of cash to be an early adopter, or whether you can afford to wait until the smoke has cleared and the public has declared a winner. 

In this article, I discussed how technological extinction is an ongoing process that has been affecting our wallets for years. It has been accelerating over the last 50 years and now it’s poised to leap to a whole new level. The current evolutionary trend of new product dominance to competitions to new product will accelerate to much shorter time frames. The next generation of humans will be able to create their own product from knowledge database using 3D printers without having to go out and buy products.

If you found this article to be useful, share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you feel, you have something to add to this article leave a comment below.  It is my hope that by sharing this information with you my readers that more charities will be able to make the transition to the World Wide Web. I look forward to seeing the success that good charities will experience in the coming years.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “technology” in the search box at the top left of this blog.

If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below. I hope you have found these questions and answers useful. Thanks for sharing your time with me.



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Since 1995, Carl Weiss has been helping clients succeed online.  He owns and operates several online marketing businesses, including Working the Web to Win and Jacksonville Video Production. He also co-hosts the weekly radio show, "Working the Web to Win," every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.com.


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1 comment:

  1. I love technology it is amazing and updated life newly ,nice post good work Smart watch nerds

    ReplyDelete