Calm Tech

Do we need a sensing, Bluetooth-connected refrigerator or toaster or any number of add-on tech that is being advocated by the enthusiasts of The Internet of Things? No, we don’t. Amber Case, MIT Research Fellow and author of Calm Technology, points out that we don’t need a device to sense when our bananas are ripe — they come with a built-in feature for just that purpose: yellow skin. Adding useless tech to a well-designed, dumb machine not only makes the original machine fallible, it adds new pathways for someone to hack into our homes, complicates our home net, and does zero to improve our lives. Do you really need to get an alert on your phone to know what is in your fridge? Just open the door and look. Time and expense would be better spent making the fridge quieter, longer lasting and more energy efficient. This era we are in is reminiscent of past eras when wanton adoption of troublesome, invasive tech just for the sake of tech was all the rage. Having been in engineering school in the mid-70s, I can recall a lot of embarrassing widgets being made just because we could. In both cases, tech was created that consumed a lot of our attention; sort of like the Tamagotchi — they needed constant feeding. As Amber says, we need devices that make us smart at being human, and allow us to spend more time being human, rather than buying smarter devices that require our constant attention.

David Stewart
David Stewart
David is the founder and face of AGEIST. He is an expert on, and a passionate champion of the emerging global over-50 lifestyle. A dynamic speaker, he is available for panels, keynotes and informational talks at david@agei.st.

More Stories

The Importance of Sun-Proofing Your Eyes

We all know about the dangers that UV rays pose when it comes to our skin: skin cancer, premature aging, wrinkles. But many people...

Artist John Mosler’s Show: The Decline of Intimacy

We have been following John Mosler’s radical career pivot for some time. We profiled John back in 2017. He had spent the previous decade...

Monika Gerber, 62, Just Say Yes

Just say yes and good things happen.For most of us, radical changes can be a daunting prospect. Leaving old habits behind and reinventing yourself...

Over-50 Shoe Solutions for the Modern Guy

Men’s style over 50 is always a bit of a confusing struggle. Should it be forward looking? Should I be wearing what I did...

How I Got My Teeth Tuned Up

Here's my tooth tale: Growing up in sunny Southern California, I was always outside having fun with my friends. A game of Marco Polo...