‘Gadgets for Good’

The annual CES Show in Las Vegas last week is widely reported. You’ll get a sense of what was there from diverse insights from CBS News, CNET, and The Register. The show provided interesting insights to tech trends, as well as a plethora of ‘gadgets’ that just trigger a furrowed brow and a grunt of ‘Why??’.

Gadgets are everywhere today. Marketeers are adept at getting us to buy them as ‘must-haves’ in life, when often they aren’t. Millennials, who’ve grown up with the internet, PCs, smart phones, social media and electronic toys at the heart of their lives, seem particularly susceptible to ‘gadget whims’. In contrast, the Badger – a proud member of the Tech/IT industry’s older generation – has become resistant to ‘gadget whims’ while remaining pro-gadget where there’s alignment with a ‘Gadgets for Good’ mantra. What does this mantra mean? Simply that the gadget’s benefit for the majority of people must be plain to see.

The CES covered many tech aspects, trends and innovations that will help with people’s lives, e.g. in health and caring for the elderly. However, the supporting spin and rhetoric was sometimes questionable, and some things like Jovot and Kiki really don’t pass the ‘Gadgets for Good’ test, at least in the Badger’s opinion! Whilst good gadgetry for monitoring and managing our health and care is emerging, the believability that robots will ultimately provide all the care and support needs of infirm, vulnerable and often elderly patients is questionable. Why? Because humans have an in-built need to interact with other human beings.

If you’ve elderly or vulnerable relatives/friends with health conditions and a high dependency on others, then you’ll know this already. You’ll know that providing a knowing smile, a wink, spontaneous comforting words, a caress of an arm, the holding of a hand, or that saying something funny means more than all the cold automation and robotics in the world. Of course, when millennials get old and infirm it may be different. They may be happy to have everything provided by gadgets and robots, but the Badger doubts it. After all, if that were the case then the robots themselves will probably have decided there’s little point having humans on the planet.

There’s no let-up in tech innovation, and gadgets that fall into the ‘Gadgets for Good’ category will progress healthily through 2019. Those that don’t should be binned so that tech talent can be recycled where it’s needed for the greater good.

Finally, it’s an historic day in the UK Parliament regarding Brexit. The behaviour of politicians of all persuasions has been woeful. So, if anyone has a bright idea for a gadget that curbs their playground capers then you’ll make a lot of money. The Badger for one would see that as a ‘Gadget for Good’!

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