“Back to the Future” promised me hover boards, not a joystick controlled adult baby carriage.
If anybody hasn't seen Segway's newest vehicle, which apparently is a lot harder to fall over than the regular two-wheeled predecessor, then stop reading and look it up now. It's called the S-Pod, and it really does look like an adult baby carriage, though most reviewers say it's "egg shaped." Must be being nice.
Why anyone would want to sit down and ride around in one of these things is above my pay grade to figure out. That most of the review articles I've read say its fun to drive but neglect any mention of how it would actually be useful is the epitome of man's technological hubris. I think the thing exists just because it can, because someone thought it would be fun for a while (It probably is, but come on.)
This is the case with most technology I've seen crop up faster than Usain Bolt sprints over the last 20 years of my life. Whether its a new iPhone or a Madden video game, people are rushing to buy the next version of something or the next new thing simply because it exists. Never mind this iPhone is basically the same as last year's to a layman, or that Madden just has the newest rookies and nothing unique as far the gameplay is concerned.
People have to get the newest thing because I saw my favorite Instagram influencer use it, and now I'm feeling left out. Because the people I follow on social media are basically my best friends. Because I know everything about them even though they would never follow me back at all, and I'm actually just trying to use this iPhone and app to distract from my busy life.
I will say that I don't think technology is the root cause in all of this. I think it's human nature to attempt a form of escape. We've had books for centuries because of this and we started using TVs a little more than a half century ago for the same reason. But the ease at which we became connected over the last two to three decades has taken us to a whole new level. I mean all of us, from age 5 to 105.
We don't care that the things being invented and new models coming out year after year don't actually have much purpose. We just want to use it and have a little fun. Which I get that because if we pay attention a little bit, we all know things are crazy.
But at the risk of making an unsubstantiated claim, I think it's just going to get crazier the more we submit to distraction. So the next piece of tech that comes out, or indeed any product trying to be sold to us, let's start by asking, ”How does this actually help anything, though?”
Daniel Buhrman is a reporter for the Washington County Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise.