Smart tech has received something of a bad rap, and not entirely without cause. After all, it is not just additive for people who want it, but subtractive for the people who don’t. You cannot easily find certain items that are free of smarts. Try finding a TV that does not connect to the internet to offer you “smart” features you didn’t want. It is almost a pointless exercise. These days, smart computer monitors are starting to show up. Who was in the focus group that informed toothbrush makers we wanted smart toothbrushes?
There is also a lack of clarity regarding what it means for an object to be smart. Generally, it refers to something with an internet connection that doesn’t strictly need it to perform its core function. Back in the day, a cell phone was something that facilitated incoming and outgoing phone calls. At some point, they received a persistent internet connection and the smartphone was born. Now, we can’t imagine a cell phone without a persistent internet connection.
Other items have benefited from having a few smarts that wouldn’t have been imagined a decade ago. Instead of having package lockers for package delivery, we have a smart package locker that is affordable, secure, and accessible to anyone with the ability to receive email and text alerts. That is a real improvement over what we had before. Here are other examples of why when it comes to tech, smarter is usually better:
Quality of Life Improvements
Notice how many of the technologies that make life easier are in the category of smart tech. A very simple example is the smart speaker. If you have a few of them hanging about the house, you can just ask a question aloud and have a reasonable expectation of getting a usable answer. Do you know that word that you always misspell? Rather than going through a lot of trial and error until the red underline goes away, you can just ask the air to spell it for you. And it will.
Who actually knows the math for converting Celsius to Fahrenheit? Your smart speakers can tell you every time without breaking a sweat. These are the kinds of quality of life improvements that once you have, you will never want to be without. Are there abuses of the system? Absolutely! But we will always have to find ways to deal with people who abuse our conveniences. The solution is not to go back to the Stone Age. The better answer is to make smart tech with even smarter security.
This is a tough argument to make to those who are constantly fighting the spam and security breaches that are a direct result of the ad-heavy, smart tech market. All of that is absolutely true and probably worse than you think. That said, we live in a world where tech makes it easier than ever to filter out annoyances in a variety of forms.
When your physical mailbox is full of junk, there is nothing you can do about it. However, email has filters that are smart enough to learn your preferences. If five pieces of spam get to your inbox every day, that is because it is filtering out 500. The same is true for texts. There is a good chance your physical mailbox gets more spam than your email. Remember how many spams calls you used to get on landline phones? That number is greatly reduced thanks to the smart tech working behind the scenes. When used correctly, filters work for social media, entertainment, and news sites. It works so well, we have simply forgotten how bad things used to be.
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It is a known fact that smart faucets, smart lights, and smart thermostats will save you money. These are not just devices for the lazy rich. These are devices that can benefit just about everyone. Because of smart security devices, everyone who wants one can now afford a security system with the components and protection they desire. Not all smart devices have an obvious financial benefit. But enough of them do so that it is a benefit we can no longer ignore.
Are there problems with all tech being smart tech? Without a doubt. But those problems can be worked out as we go. In the meantime, we can appreciate the fact that smart tech often improves our quality of life, reduces annoyances, and saves us money.