History and Tech

Something inherent about the tech industry is its focus away from history. The industry as a whole looks past history as a relic, something to be improved upon.

Or perhaps its a cultural shift in general of the 21st century. With ready made goods coming from assembly lines in China, new goods are as cheap as ever. Companies such as IKEA make disposable furniture and Starbucks serves us in disposable cups. Then again, if we observe cars, which usually come with about a 10 year life span, perhaps the focus towards the new in technology stems from a natural degradation of complex machinary over time. While a 100 year old chair, piano, or silverware may still function their designed functionality after time with equal efficiency, machines get outdated. A 1990 Honda Civic neither has the lasting design language or fuel efficiency to make sense keeping it on the road. But then again, is there an argument to be had that creating the lastest 2017 model is more wasteful?

Of course, there are antique cars as well. I’m sure people would love a 70’s Porche or a 80’s Mustang.

Then, we must be mindful that electronic gadgets probably have done a very poor job in everlasting design. There are some kitchen wares, such as stoves and fridges from the 20’s~40’s that carry a type of astetic that are pleasant to look at today (although if you’re goal was to cook faster, hotter, and keep your food colder at lower utilities bill, they might not be the best option.) It’s hard to think of an average consumer product that has lasted through the times. Perhaps the iPod, Sony Walkman, the boombox design, the corded telephone are things that are classic and have become iconic.

I’m sure there are also numous pleasant gadgets from the past that are still great design by today’s standards. It might just be that they were not popular.

In today’s digital age, admittedly the history is very short. The TCP/IP is only an invention from 1982. Even still, it would be encouraging to draw on our short history and celebrate it, cherish it, as times go by.


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