I used to be an early adopter…

baby shouting at a laptopI used to be an early adopter – I had one of the very first personal computers in our company, I was a very early user of e-mail (before the Internet was widely heard of), I got a mobile phone before most people and using the technology of the times (I had a laptop and technology that would push my phone calls to wherever I was sitting at the time!) I was remote working before the phrase was even invented.

Now however I find it very rare that I lust after the latest piece of technology. What has happened? I suppose I could have two reasons. Firstly that it was easier to be an early adopter when my employer paid the not insignificant sums necessary to acquire early versions of technology but secondly that it seems less and less frequent that we get real ground breaking paradigm shifters in the way that the personal computer and the mobile phone were.

I have resisted getting an iPhone, for instance, because nobody has managed to show me how they help in a way that can not be done using my old technology phone and my laptop. Having just been gifted and old iPhone3 (note that old in this context means about 24 months) I am still to see what all the fuss is about. If it had a 20 megapixel camera, or a good voice recognition system then maybe I would jump.

We may however be on the verge of the next revolution. I have been using voice recognition software on my laptop for about the last 15 years and it is definitely getting better. However it is still a little clunky and a system that will recognise fractured grammar and colloquialisms as well as accents will wipe the floor and completely transform computing in all its manifestations. The possibility of asking my phone or PC to “send a note to Sally and ask her what  time the meeting about bees is on Friday night” and having the machine recognise all of that and take appropriate action (I don’t really mind if it sends a txt, a msg, an email or eve a voice message) WILL encourage me to jump. Is Siri the answer?

2 responses to “I used to be an early adopter…

  1. I can identify with much of this. I bought a Sinclair ZX Spectrum as soon as they came on the market, plugged into a portable TV, a tape recorder and a funny little printer using thermal paper. I was soon printing out barely legible domestic budget spreadsheets. At work I soon got stuck into word processing, spreadsheets & databases on the clunky old mainframe system when it was installed in YWA’s Monkgate Office, York. Unlike you, however, I have recently got myself an ‘Android’ smartphone, and I like it. Takes good photos, real-time access to train times, bank accounts etc., & much else. I am not attracted, however, by the possibility of playing games on it. You’ve got a nice little blog site here. Congratulations. Best wishes.

  2. I did my degree in Artificial Intelligence, graduating in 2001, and even 12 years ago, AI had a limited number of applications outside of the domain of game-playing. However, with the likes of IVR and OCR, it really seems to be taking off in a big way.

    With respect to Siri, it (and Google Now) is still in its infancy, but it is not hard to see a situation where these things start to become genuinely useful in the next 5-10 years.

    Siri and Google Now comparison

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