Turn to Your Left at the End of the Sky

Thoughts on the Consumer Electronics Show

I am sitting in my hotel room looking over the Las Vegas Convention Center where hundreds of thousands of global citizens are thronging the cavernous halls. It is easy to lose perspective when you are down there, pressed on all sides by televisions and cell phones and audio equipment and pimped-out cars and computer games.

Back in my hotel room, though, the thought occurred to me, as it does every time I come to CES, that there is a vast difference between life and technology. Technology only provides the infrastructure for life. We still have to provide the rest: the creativity, the relationships, the laughter, the intimate connection. As far as I can tell almost every gadget in those halls serves either to bring us entertainment or to make us more efficient. But at times I wonder whether it is possible for technological progress to increase our entertainment. Was an hour of ‘I Love Lucy’ on a 27″ black and white TV that much less entertaining than ‘Heroes’ on a 102″ plasma screen?

And how much more efficiency or productivity are we really gaining from technology these days? The limiting factor in the information age seems to be the rate at which we can absorb and process new information in our finite brains. There seems to be very little left to automate in my life.

As I write, the Apple hordes are ecstatic over the announcement that Steve Jobs will produce a phone just for them. A bigger screen on a trendier phone will not make us any more likely to pick it up and call the person in our life who yearns to hear from us, to connect with us, to hear again that we love them. Or will it?


January 9, 2007 - Posted by | Technology, Thoughts

1 Comment »

  1. So crazy, I think I had some friends that were in Vegas for that.

    Comment by Allie | March 6, 2007 | Reply

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