Posted by CJD on January 9, 2013
The biggest electronics show on earth started this week in the maddest town on earth – the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
If you’ve never been to one, you’re sort of lucky; they’re exhausting and dystopic – floor upon floor of raw capitalism and technology; on show and very in your face. It’s the place where every electronic brand name you’ve ever heard of – and even more that you haven’t – shout their sales pitch into the crowd.
The town’s hotels and restaurants are stuffed with nerds, geeks and what Americans still call executives, looking tired and bemused, drunk and excited – all trying not to lose their company shirts at the gaming tables or get too distracted by the offers from startlingly (un)dressed women on the sidewalks outside the show.
I’m not there this time, thank God, and haven’t been since the mid 90’s when it was my job to also shout into the crowd or – better – just be one of the crowd having a good time in Vegas on the ex-firm’s shilling.
But given that it’s over 15 years since I last went, it’s strange how much deja-vu I experience when reading the reports of the technology on show.
Sure, there’s the shock of the new like the world’s first smart fork – I device I didn’t know I needed and still don’t – but more often there’s the shock of not having the stuff I was promised 15 years ago and now having it pushed at me like it was actually new.
So I see I’m still being promised that I’ll be able to wear the internet or see it on my spectacles as I walk and that my fridge will re-order the butter when it senses I’m running short. (Actually, more likely it’ll be your waste bin that checks the bar code when you throw the empty packet into it.)
Only the name-hype has changed – these days we call this stuff the ‘internet of things’ rather than on ramps and superhighways and so on.
The truth is that technology takes time, often decades and the technology that we finish up using is often not predicted as the next big thing at the time it was invented – SMS messages reached almost 10 trillion in 2012 but was designed as an engineering test signal, not a saleable product. The internet itself was never planned, nor the world wide web.
But there’s one product I’ve wanted since a child, which the world wants, which 007 wants and what all future space explorers obviously have – a wrist watch that’s also a telephone.
Well it ain’t showing at CES but the rumour mill has it that a product called the iWatch is in development.
CES – http://www.cesweb.org
I’m not a child anymore, my name isn’t Bond, Scarlet, Knight, Tracey or Kirk but I still want one. Maybe next year.
April 26, 2023