Not even wrong: ways to predict tech

The author has a provocative essay on the “science” of “prediction”. He makes very sweeping generalisations about mobile phones, for example. The mobile phone was a standard entity and I have long held belief that it was BlackBerry that invented the form factor (and the complete underlying technology). Apple “reinvented” it with worse monopolistic controls. There was an active denial of BlackBerry by mobile companies because ironically the technology was “good for the consumers”.

However, it isn’t the point of discussion. Technology becomes mainstream only when it is backed by effective marketing. I remember fiddling with the enterprise mobile devices (again BlackBerries) but the rash of startups started pushing the narrative of “BYOD” that gathered steam. It was the BYOD moment that killed innovation and now it is the race to the bottom.

A lot of really important technologies started out looking like expensive, impractical toys. The engineering wasn’t finished, the building blocks didn’t fit together, the volumes were too low and the manufacturing process was new and imperfect. In parallel, many or even most important things propose some new way of doing things, or even an entirely new thing to do. So it doesn’t work, it’s expensive, and it’s silly. It’s a toy. Some of the most important things of the last 100 years or so looked like this – aircraft, cars, telephones, mobile phones and personal computers were all dismissed.

Not even wrong: ways to predict tech — Benedict Evans

Each one of the epochal moments in the technology resulted from the groundbreaking work elsewhere. One who “packaged and marketed” it by creating a “felt demand” took home the prize.

For the same reason when I come across papers discussing AI for the CBCT’s, I think it is more of an overkill because it doesn’t solve the problem. We need faster acquisition times versus “on-board” analysis of the images. An average scan usually takes a minute, which gets worse with the intrafraction movement. Use technology to make things efficient.

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