I tend to like much of the new technology, though some of it is quite gimmicky and appeals only to those who like technology for its own sake. I am usually slow to adopt them waiting until I am sure that I really need it. What really bothers me is when people think that technology will solve a problem that the lack of technology did not create.
What really bothers me is when people think that technology will solve a problem that the lack of technology did not create. Three areas stand out. One is in education where there has been a rush to spend huge amounts of money to provide technological gadgets (like iPads to all students) in the hope that this will motivate students to learn. I have had many years of working with teachers and studying what makes for good teaching and have come away convinced that a good teacher who works in an environment where they are respected as trained professionals can, with just paper and pencil and string and sticky tape, achieve much more than a poor teacher in a high-tech classroom.
The second is with public talks. Some people seem to think that a glitzy PowerPoint presentation will make up for the fact that they have nothing really new or useful to say or that they cannot say it coherently. It can often make the talk worse. As Edward Tufte said, “Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely”.
The third is with news. Having fancy newsrooms and the latest gadgetry cannot make up for the lack of good investigative journalism. In fact they work at cross-purposes. The more money spent on technology, the less there is to be spent of hiring quality journalists, a problem that also occurs in education. CNN is a good example of this where they spent much money and effort of things like holograms while their reporting has steadily declined.
Another more recent example of this is Fox News that has apparently transformed its newsroom into something out of a science fiction film but where their news coverage and judgment remains shallow.
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report had a ton of fun unloading on the new Fox newsroom.
(This clip aired on October 9, 2013. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post.)
(This clip aired on October 10.)