Chapter 19

Society's Changing View of Technology

While this book is about all kinds of smart products and services and technologically sophisticated companies, we would be remiss to not point out we live in an uneven, “unelite” society. A relevant question to ask is whether society at large is ready for the massive coming tsunami of technology. This chapter presents some considerations that cause pause.

Our Fragmented Society

At one extreme is Fred Wilson, a venture capitalist who, with his wife Joanne, encourages their kids to be comfortable with all kinds of technology. “The parents and kids publish a combined nine blogs. They bring a duffle bag on family trips just to carry all the cords, adapters, and batteries for their electronic devices.”1

And then at the other extreme there are what USA Today calls the “Tech-Nos,” including folks like Joan Brady: “No, she doesn't e-mail. And, really, she does not need you to call her and read the latest e-mail joke to her. She knows what she's missing, and she's grateful for it every day.”2

It is estimated that the number of U.S. mothers who have used midwives to deliver babies naturally has doubled over the past several decades. At least some insurance companies are starting to pay for alternative healthcare like acupuncture and chiropractic care—relatively low-tech services. (Of course, in a sign of the times, we now have laser acupuncture and expert systems to suggest precise acu-points to be needled depending on the ailment being treated.) ...

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