07 May

Old tech declines, and we’re much too focused on new gadgets

Interesting look at the length of time technology stays with us, and how it’s replaced:

“‘The replacement of the car is probably out there,’ Cohen adds. ‘We just don’t fully recognize it yet.’

In fact, he predicts, it will probably come from China, which would make for an ironic comeuppance by history. The car was largely developed in America to fit the American landscape, with our wide-open spaces and brand-new communities. And then the car was awkwardly grafted onto other places, like dense, old European cities and developing countries. If the car’s replacement comes out of China, it will be designed to fit the particular needs and conditions of China, and then it will spread from there. The result probably won’t work as well in the U.S., Cohen says, in the same way that the car never worked as well in Florence as it did in Detroit.

We’re not terribly well positioned right now to think about what this future will look like. Part of the challenge is that, culturally, we’re much more accustomed to celebrating new gadgets than thinking about how old technology decays.”

(Via What the Steamship and the Landline Can Tell Us About the Decline of the Private Car – Emily Badger – The Atlantic Cities.)