For at least five years, we’ve been working with the same operating logic in the consumer technology game. This is what it looks like:
There will be ratings and photos and a network of friends imported, borrowed, or stolen from one of the big social networks. There will be an emphasis on connections between people, things, and places. That is to say, the software you run on your phone will try to get you to help it understand what and who you care about out there in the world. Because all that stuff can be transmuted into valuable information for advertisers.
That paradigm has run its course. It’s not quite over yet, but I think we’re into the mobile social fin de siècle.
This article is a definite must-read for people interested in the web and the future of technology. It was published just over a week after Facebook announced they were purchasing Instagram, and that news flooded the various tech blogs and Twitter streams. People were making a big deal out of it since the purchase price was a billion dollars. John Gruber pointed out during The Talk Show that Instagram was worth more than the market cap of the NY Times (which was just under a billion dollars).
It makes me wonder where the world is heading when we place such significance on how we share photos (Instagram, Pinterest) that it can be valued as being more important than a media outlet that has been around for 150 years. I also think about how when Google shows off their concept of the Augmented Reality glasses, the idea gets laughed at and parodied instead of generating some excitement over a new idea.
Instead of generating new products that take the next step, companies and developers are more keen on duplicating what exists already, tweaking something in how it operates or how it’s styled to increase its popularity. To make matters worse, the University of Florida is gutting their computer science department.
When a major University decides that its athletic department is more important than an academic one that researches and designs the future, and developers are more focused on getting fingers to click ads, what kind of world is that going to develop?