Changing the world?
30.06.2008 @ 16:58 \04\Mon, 30 Jun 2008 16:58:41 +0000\41 +0000 UTC
Usually this blog is written in spanish, but this one is intentionally written in english in an attempt to get more feedback by reaching more readers.
Now, to the topic of this post. Why is it that people, specially the ones who live in Silicon Valley, tend to say “this technology” or “this product” will change the world?
It was there in SV where the PC was born and I am a living witness that the PC did really change the world in many ways. But that was a few decades ago.
Now it seems that the phrase “change the world” is deliberately being used to describe every technology or product emerging from SV.
Let’s take the iPod for example. I have one and I like it. It certainly revolutionazed the mp3 player business and revolution implies change, a radical one indeed. I think, however, the role of the mp3 format had a deeper impact in the music business than the iPod itself. Either way I don’t think the iPod has changed the world. Not at least in the way the PC has done it. Not at least in the way an AIDS-vaccine would do it or the recent discoveries in genetics will do it.
For me a change means something deeper. To change the world means really to change the whole world (by whole world I mean not only USA). I don’t think an iPod has changed lives in Africa for instance, as I don’t think “technologies” like Twitter or Facebook are changing the world. They are nice applications. they can be used as alternative tools to communicate with people you care of, but that’s all. Of course, there are people out there who say that thanks Twitter they have access to first-hand information but, as I said, it is another communication tool and that, getting information, is its main purpose.
I don’t believe a congressman using twitter is going to change the world either. It is nice to have such a communication channel but is nothing too big to make a change in THE world. Besides, I don’t think Twitter will spread in such a way that ever congressman will use it.
I think the iPhone will change the mobile business but not THE world. It seems many people are impressed by the fact that the iPhone will have 3G. It is a feature that was missing from the very beginning. The new iPhone doesn’t have the features people wanted it, like video conferencing or video recording, it has the features that were missing in version one.
I think, the world “change” has been really squandered and it has lost its meaning. One thing is to say that one product has changed your world and other thing is to say that one product has changed THE world.
It seems the phrase “change the world” is either overrated by me or it has actually lost sense. It may also be that people are feeling a desperate urge to change the world so strong that they think the next thing they do will actually change it.
Of course, it can be the case that I am failing to notice the full potential of the examples mentioned above. But right now I just don’t see how they can change the world.