Sunday, June 10, 2012

Temporary tech to take me to tomorrow

I have said it before and I will say it again: I love living in the future.  I recounted a story for my daughter the other day, telling her about my college days when my old roommate would spin science fiction stories of what our lives would some day be like.  He would tell of days to come when we could get music and video on demand in our homes, through the then-emerging internet.  People would travel with computers, he'd say.  Distribution would be disrupted.

And here we are.

The future has not come to all players and parties at the same time in the same way, however.  The automobile industry is my most recent example of an economic sector clawing at the last strands of the 20th century.  The fat profits from fat cars are too hard to give up, and being the first mover into the 21st century hasn't quite worked yet for the Volt or the Leaf.  There is no bellwether to show new ideas will provide new big profits, and so the capital-heavy industries lumber behind with the oil companies and cable television.

The future is coming, of course.  Time may stretch out patiently while I tap my metaphorical foot demanding the Great Leap Forward.  The change I want may be later, and so I need to bridge the gap to the future that will someday arrive.  My wife and I had a choice when the time came this year to replace our old minivan with a new vehicle.  We could plan to finance and keep a car for seven or eight years, as we did with the last one, or we could just look on this as a short-term solution to a long-term problem - because a longer term solution is not that far away.

I did the research and the test drives, and settled on the Prius, not because it is the most beautiful car in the world, but because it reaches some short-term goals with a substantial resale value so the depreciation hit won't kill us when we sell the car in about three years.  I normally like to use my tech to death (and slightly beyond death), so this is out of character for me.  Technology solutions must sometimes be hard realizations that the thing we really need is coming soon, so let's just MacGyver something for now that keeps costs down, does the job, and where we won't feel the short-term investment is really just a loss.

Ford and some others are getting ready to give us what we expected from the future.  I just need to use the old tech a little while longer, keep my expectation of investments in line, and keep tapping my foot.

1 comment:

  1. I'm dreaming about the future of democratized video production. I can do unreal things now, but suspect within the next few months there will be great advances released in memory, storage, processing speeds, and software that will make telling stories so much more easy.

    If I can do this in an hour now:

    What does tomorrow look like?