Sunday, 1 January 2017

give me that old time disruptor

Collectors’ Weekly has an interesting review of some of the gimmicky, vintage gadgets of the Industrial Revolution that were touted (at least by the tinkerers who had them on offer) as game-changers for industries yet to be established and plied eagerly on early-adopters.
Some of these inventions and interventions—called revelatory due to the times—or their ideas are still with us, like various punch-clocks and time-verifiers, much like those productivity-boosters and service-tickets built into our infrastructure to make sure our utilities aren’t putting their thumbs to the scales, which is sometimes just as much as a time-thief. What do you think? Some inventions create problems to solve.  Will digital-signatures, encryption, kick-starter campaigns, drones and the formalised sharing-economy (in all senses, models built on gigs and renting out one’s time and property as well as platforms for interaction) look like snake-oil and tonic compared to the real innovations of the age to the next generation (perhaps authentically, 3-D printing, gene-editting and immersive virtual reality for therapy and exploration) and are only capitalising on the excitement of the present? Of course, I suppose the trick is in recognising the hucksters from the brokers and engineers and for most of us, that’s usually only gained in hindsight.