The End of CES: Hey, But What About Our Shiny Future?

What did we learn from this year’s CES gadget freakout show? Well… people like phones. And pretty pictures. And that we live in a very strange time: what’s recently new is already old and boring, and there’s nothing shocking and new to be had. (This is just because we have a short attention span! I mean the iPad is still pretty new! Remember how excited you were?)

So here’s three things about the future.

The future is extremely confusing.
Witness the Acer Iconia, winner of this year’s “Last Gadget Standing” competition. It’s, oh God, it’s two touchscreens! Which means one episode of putting your hands down for a second and your document is deleted.

The future is only inching its way towards the present.
Yes, sure, we would all like to be able to control machines with our brains. “Thought-controlled computing” is, its enthusiasts say, 10 to 15 years off. And those are its enthusiasts.

And the “smart home”? That’s only slowly coming. (Also, I mean, do we need to be able to control our dishwashers from our iPads? DO WE REALLY? I do not think I do.)

On the way to that, though, what we’ll get is: “Computers, Internet and Browsers in Everything. Each and every piece of technology and consumer electronics is getting hooked to the Internet and doing something with the connectivity.”


The future ain’t that green.
Despite the recent invention of a faux palladium alloy, and GE’s new “micro” wind turbines (“they” predict that some day we’ll each have a wind turbine on our roofs! Won’t that be wacky! Gosh I don’t believe it), pretty much not much is changing in how we harvest for gadgets, assemble gadgets and dispose of gadgets. Even CES itself tried to make the case that it was “green.” Yeah, no.

At least we have phone chargers now that can shut off while they’re charging our things that were flown over from China.

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