November 2011 | part III – piecing something together
“I don’t get no respect” … was that Rodney Dangerfield or technology?
While this was of course Rodney Dangerfield’s classic tag line, it could have easily been technology’s. With so much of today’s world somehow touched by technology it is sad it does in fact get so little respect. There is a very historical approach to technology insights with the writing containing portions of entertainment and fairy dust. We all remember the mythical under the covers Popular Science article about flying cars. Coverage of the development in polarized optical converters at which we have looked draws on some of the same inspiration, with the entertainment bits detailing Superman’s memory crystal taking up plenty of words of the various articles. Unfortunately these entertainment bits have the longest retention of all the presented information. It does not have to be this way. Technology can be approached with interest and excitement, while keeping it in context and giving it a little respect.
So how do you give technology respect? The key is presenting no more and no less. Discuss the development, accurately and with honesty. The interest should come with the understanding of how the subject technology advances a long standing problem or overcomes a hurdle in its field. To this end it is important to put the technology in context. Once contextualized it can be appreciated in the broader field where it finds itself. The technology can stand on its own with the knowledge of how it fits in the world, without the need for an entertaining angle or extrapolation to support it.