NPI Technology Management Blog

A “Selective” Luddite’s New Year’s Resolutions

- December 28, 2017

It is hard to be a Luddite and love technology at the same time. Let me explain: typically a Luddite is a person who opposes technology. But I think that the advances in AI and IOT, for example, are exciting and hold great potential. So you might say I am a “selective” Luddite. Working in business development for a technology company has exposed me to all manner of new products and ideas for improvements in the way we live.

Here are my technology resolutions for 2018:

Maintain my privacy

So, why am I resistant to some technology? It’s a personal choice to not adopt every new device and concept that comes along. When I first heard about Alexa I was thrilled—someone available to answer every random question that comes into my head—what could be more fulfilling? But then the more I thought about it I realized that I would sacrifice my privacy because, as we all now know, these connected devices only work when they are listening all the time. Do I have deep, dark secrets to protect? Absolutely not, I am the most boring person you’ll ever meet, but I will not invite anything into my home that has the potential to spy on me.

Use my cellphone as a communication device not as a constant distraction

Cell phones are just about the greatest invention ever. To be able to pick up a small device and connect with people anywhere is almost too good to be true. But I made the decision a long time ago to not buy a smartphone. Dumb, huh? If I had one I could get the weather, find driving directions, always know the latest news, be constantly connected with my friends and so much more. The Luddite in me sees a problem with all this instant access—especially the use of GPS that tells people and stores when you are nearby so they can sell products…or themselves. I navigate by reading a map or asking directions, seek weather information when I need it and connect with friends on my schedule.

Embrace IOT only if it provides a benefit I want

IOT devices are downright amazing. They can turn the heat up and down, let you see who’s at your door while you’re away, tell you how many steps you’ve taken and on and on. I won a Nest in a contest but now I am so sick of coming home to a cold house I reverted to using it as a regular thermostat. I don’t really care who’s at my door when I’m not there and I’m sure my nosy neighbors will take care of any troublemakers. It would be nice to know how much exercise I’m getting but, trust me, I know when I haven’t gotten enough.

Continue to be inspired by technology

 3-D printing, for me, is an example of the promise technology holds for our future. From the tiny trinkets of just a couple of years ago, additive manufacturing has exploded into a universe of possibilities:  hair, prostheses (maybe even organs!), pills and so much more.  I never dreamed of a day when a printer loaded with food ingredients could create a pizza or, when filled with metal, could create a beautiful piece of jewelry of my own design.

I am well aware that technology is rapidly changing our world and to a certain extent we all will be swept up in it whether we are willing or not. Most advances so far have been not only exciting but life enhancing; in some cases even life extending. I don’t want this wonderful explosion of ideas and inventions to slow down. I just want to exercise my right as an individual to pick and choose which ones to embrace and which to reject. Perhaps thinking about your own technology viewpoints will lead to some resolutions of your own.