No I won’t go into the lamenting of the lack of jet-pack and flying cars. This is more of “What happened to the stuff we should have now?”. Not the unexpected advances in technology, but the things that should actually be making our lives easier.
Current technology in the personal, portable storage that can communicate with an insane number of other devices, is not good enough. Why is car insurance only valid if current and printed on a specific piece of paper?! Not just any PAPER – oddly-sized and PINK paper… Ok well it doesn’t have to be pink because I can use a photocopy, right? Actually, no. At least here in Ontario you must have an original insurance slip unless it is a temporary one that the insurance company has emailed you until your little pink pieces of deforestation arrive sometime in the future by mail. And yes, even though you have only one car, they are going to send you 12 little pieces of paper because clearly you are stupid. But can you have an incredibly hi-res image showing proof of insurance on a device which is back-lit and easier to read (eg. zoom in as necessary) for the cop who is on the final hours of his shift and just wants to go home because it’s been a long night, all the caffeine has worn off, and if someone hands him another photocopy of a pink piece of paper he just might drag them from their car and pistol-whip them for stupidity… Can you have an image on your phone? Nope – better have that special piece of paper.
Life Technologies has announced a $7 million dollar competition to improve its new Ion Personal Genome Machine (PGM) sequencer, which reads DNA using semiconductor technology. At $50,000, it costs about a tenth of other sequencing machines. – “Life Technologies $7 million competition for improved DNA sequencing“, kurzweilai.net
Yet we are constantly hammered over the head to buy reusable coffee containers because it’s 2011 and we still can’t recycle a cardboard cup, some wax, and a plastic lid. The fact that a huge percentage of consumer packaging is STILL not recyclable is a bit disturbing. Yes there is the argument that is shouldn’t be produced in the first place and I get it, however there is a certain level of common sense in that not everything can travel or be stocked in a hemp bag…. We have been producing packaging products since before I was born, yet in 2011 not everything is recyclable, and not all regions will recycle it. Insane.
Your portable technology is still only as good as the life of your batteries. When you think about it, battery technology hasn’t really changed a whole lot over the years. Yes, packaging has improved, size has improved, and you can now actually recycle the little suckers, but really, it is still a chemical reaction happening to provide you with juice to power whatever you need and that juice only lasts a little while compared to the length of time you actually need. Sure, thinking back to the original cell phones where the battery would last 1-2 hours, and now your iphone lasts maybe 4h we’re talking at least a 100% improvement there, but that was more advancements in power-sucking technology than improvements to the actual power cell… Walking into a store tomorrow, you have roughly the same choices of batteries you did 10 years ago and if you’re buying Alkaline batteries – that technology has been around since 1950 when Canadian engineer Lewis Urry figured it out for the Eveready Battery company. It’s 2011 and I have to go plug in my iphone before I lose this post.