Smart People vs Smart Tech — Who will win?
Any man who must say, “I am the king” is no true king. — Tyrion Lannister
This line from GoT can be changed like this —
Any product that must calls itself ‘smart’, is probably not truly smart.
‘Smart’ — the word has lost all it’s meaning. At least in the world of technology.
Let us look at some examples of smart in a traditional sense.
A 1 year old baby is smart — if she can talk more than 50 words, because most babies do it when they are 2 or 3.
A 5 year old boy is smart — if he can name capital cities of all states, because hardly anyone can do it before they are 12 or 13.
A 15 year old girl is smart — if she has the whole of periodic table memorized, because only few Chemistry major degree holders can do it.
A 22 year old is smart — if he has a dual degree and gives TED talks, because, well rarely someone so young does it.
This is how we identify smart people around us.
(Side note — I am not saying that someone is smart only if they do these things at those ages. These examples are the extreme cases where no one can deny their smartness. Nevertheless, the world is filled with different kinds of smartness which aren’t mentioned above)
When it came to identifying technology as smart, the world has utterly failed. At least in the last 5 years.
It all started out with the phone, back in 2000’s.
A phone was called smart — when it was capable of doing things which were done by large computers viz. Emails, Internet browsing etc. In addition to what it is supposed to do — vis-a-vis calling and texting, the smartphone was able to carry out much more difficult tasks done only by the powerful machines. This made perfect sense. The phone was smart.
However this concept was blatantly copied to each and every product that could be found on this planet.
Let’s take the television — it is smart if can connect to internet. This combination did make some sense because content from internet could be now watched on TV. Can be called smart.
Then came the watches — smart if it is connected (via Bluetooth or WiFi) to your phone. In all fairness it did more than what a watch a supposed to do such as display messages and notifications, show emails, keep reminders etc.
But I think someone forgot, we already have a phone (a smartphone) for that which is much easier to use than a 2 inch screen on your wrist. Not so smart!
And here comes the truly crazy stuff.
Smart belt — this belt can detect when you are gaining weight. Apparently standing on a weighing scale is too much work.
Smart fridge cam — because you need to see what’s inside your refrigerator when you are at the supermarket. Evidently making notes is for cave people.
Smart dustbin cam — otherwise where can you find live images of your trash!
Smart egg tray — why count eggs when you can get that information on your app by adding WiFi to your egg tray?
Smart water bottle — unless your bottle can remind you to drink water, you aren’t connected with the world.
For me, the nail in the coffin is the smart coffin (pun intended).
It has a screen on top, which can display condolence messages from facebook and twitter feed of the dead. This product has taken the word ‘connected’ to a whole new level.
Let me put it bluntly — a product doesn’t become smart if you add WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities to it. It isn’t necessarily smart if it can just collect data and give you some useless analytics features.
So what does actually qualify as ‘smart’? With plethora of technological advances happening, which product or technology is truly smart and intelligent?
… to be continued in next post!