Am I getting old, or is modern tech just... boring?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Am I getting old, or is modern tech just... boring?
Hi there. My name is Nick and I'll be 32 this year. When I was a teenager, this number seemed almost infinitely distant, yet here I am, not quite as far from that milestone as I once were. I wouldn't call myself old, but recently, I haven't been feeling particularly young either, and the symptoms reminding me that I'm no longer in my teens are also related to how I interact with technology – and how I tend to criticize new products and concepts rather than praise them. 

We got a computer at home back in the late 90's, and that opened the portal to a whole new world to me. I wanted to try every game or program I got my hands on; I had to know what made my PC work on the inside; I felt a natural urge to explore this new and exciting technological dimension, and I was picking up things really fast. Older folks around me weren't like that. They often got stuck while using the PC, and when Windows 98 threw a random error message at them, they usually gave up and called me to the rescue.

I still love tech. I enjoy reviewing it, reading about it, studying its inner workings, but this doesn't excite me quite as it did over a decade ago. So, is this a sign of me growing older, or is modern tech just... boring, pointless, and no longer serving in our favor?

"This is definitely going on my story"

This is what I heard a young girl exclaim as she was taking selfies with a couple of her friends. I know what social media stories are, but I still don't quite get the point. Why do I need a feed inside my feed? Is it there so that people hungry for attention can get even more of it? And why would I want whatever I post to disappear in 24 hours? If I want it gone tomorrow, it's probably not worth sharing anyway. Silly kids.

The state of mobile gaming also perplexes me. The vast majority of popular games do not seem made to be fun. They are designed to be addictive and to make money out of this – to exploit our psychological vulnerabilities so that we spend real cash on virtual gems or whatever. I'd much rather pay for a full, well-made game – one with a beginning and a rewarding ending at which I'd arrive after overcoming a fair challenge. Am I a minority?

The trend of "adding" AI to anything is also rather silly. While there are some genuinely impressive applications, such as Google Duplex, the term "artificial intelligence" is used too broadly, primarily to generate hype, and is often slapped to stuff we've had for a decade – cameras that can recognize a scene, for example. The unassuming consumer might be lead to believe that having a phone with "AI" is like living in The Matrix. To me, anything that has to do with AI gets automatically discarded in my mental Junk folder.

Smart speakers? Those are probably here to stay, but to me, they fall into a category where digital picture frames belong. Again, what's the point of having one? You have the exact same virtual assistant on your phone already. Back in August, I was given a Google Home Mini as a gift and never even bothered to open it.

And phones, I'm particularly annoyed by how fragile they've become. Yes, they're more beautiful than ever, but they're visually attractive primarily to boost the chances of you making the emotional decision of buying them when you see them at the store. Manufactures know well that you'll end up slapping a black rubber case and a screen protector on it anyway – because a screen replacement costs $300. On a related note, here at the office, we've had phones crack even when protected by brand-name cases – the OnePlus 6, for example, as well as a Galaxy Note 9 which cracked exactly along the curve of its display.

But I think I know what's going on

I'm still far from being a granddaddy – and most certainly not all modern tech is dumb. I'm subscribed to a bunch of awesome digital services including Spotify, Netflix, and Dropbox cloud storage. Paying with my phone or smartwatch feels like living in the future, and I can't wait until I'm free to tell my car to drive me to the office.

So, why is it that technology doesn't seem as exciting as it once did? It could be because growing up causes a shift in one's views and priorities. I don't want my tech to be flashy so that I can show it off to my peers. I just want it to work. But also, I think that's mostly because what was once a hobby is now my job. They say that if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life, but to me, that sounds like one of those wise-sounding quotes people impulsively share with their Facebook buddies without even giving the words a second thought.

Are you with me on this one? Or am I just lame? Let me know below.



1. joshuaswingle

Posts: 569; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

Totally agree with what you said about the state of mobile gaming and products with "artificial intelligence" built-in. But I will say I love posting a good Story on Instagram and now actually prefer it over posting pictures to my regular feed, although that might have something to do with the fact that I'm only 20 years old hahaha.

30. foldablephone

Posts: 57; Member since: Sep 19, 2018

As someone who is in his mid-30s lol, can you please explain to me why you enjoy stories? Does the method feel more cooler / exclusive than a normal post or do you prefer it because you don’t have to remember to delete stuff? Or because your friends all do it? I just struggle a lot to see the point but maybe I’m getting old too lol.

37. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Tech on smartphones has slowed down, especially on the SoCs (CPUs, GPUs, DMA, and more). As far as AI is concerned, it is still in it's infancy. AI on phones for pictures, or music listen is cool, and it is still evolving. AI on smart speakers is still in it's infancy, especially when their is only 70,000 voice apps for Amazon Alexa, and about half that for Google's Assistant. Also smart displays are not even two years old. Google's smart displays are not even a year old. Nick said he received a Google Home mini, and didn't even open it up. Well I can tell you they are not only here to stay, but they will flourish and grow more than smartphones. You guys at Phonearena will have to hire or get people to actually look further into these smart devices. Your going to see them in all kinds of businesses, restaurants, offices, health care facilities, and more. Mark my words Nick. Your going to use a lot more of these smart devices, because they are not just for the home. The future will prove that. You will see.

40. mrochester

Posts: 979; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

I disagree, smart speakers are a temporary gimmick. I had an Alexa dot plugged in for over a year and used it about 3 times, and that was just to show someone else what it could do! If I need to set a timer, play music, make a call or send a text using my voice then that is all Siri on my watch, phone or tablet. These commands are pretty much the only things that people use these smart speakers for. I just can’t think of anything a smart speaker can do that my existing devices can’t, which makes the smart speaker a complete waste of money.

49. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

Look you can disagree all you want. But CES as well as a lot of OEMS are making lots of these smart devices. If you are only looking on from the Apple camp users perspective, especially from a Siri perspective, then I can see why you are calling these smart speakers a gimmick. Anyone that has used any of these smart devices knows that Siri is the dumbest smart speaker on the market right now. Its really and oxymoron to call Siri smart. No surprise there. Especially when your only way to extend Siri is through an iOS app. This also limits Siri on where she can run, including the type of hardware you need to run Siri. Why do you think Apple's HomePod has an Ax SoC running in it? Now the competition smart speakers are not tied to any hardware. It's why Alexa and Google Assistant can run on a $10 raspberry pi zero. Siri can't do that. It's also why the competition has $25 smart speakers. Also the competition apps run on the back end or server side. So as long as Alexa or Google Assistant run on other platforms, like iOS, Mac OS/X, Windows, Chrome OS, Linux, and Android. Then all those apps that developers wrote will run on those platforms. Apple's Siri is closed on the back end or server side, and as long as Siri stays that way. Then Siri will always be limited, and will never run on anything but Apple's hardware. Smart speakers are one thing, but it's already gone past smart speakers, and we are now on to smart displays. This is where Siri has nothing to compete with. Smart displays can do everything a smart speaker can do only a lot more. They have touch screens that you can also interact with. Not to mention all those AI voice apps work on not only smart speakers, but they also work on smart displays. But now developers can even extend those apps to do more on a smart display, including display any information that they want, or interact with the user via a touch display. At CES LG had an $80 smart display, which was pitched as a smart clock, but it can do so much more, than be a clock. KitchenAid has a water resistant smart display for $200 coming soon. It's not stopping. Lots of OEMS are making these devices. Because they are not just for the home anymore. Mark my words, you are going to see these in businesses, offices, reception areas, hospitals, health care facilities in general, and more.

54. Penny

Posts: 1848; Member since: Feb 04, 2011

If that's what you use it for, then that's the extent of its value to you. But I can say having Google Home play a "Freeze Dance" game for the kids, or an interactive trivia game for adults, or having it control smart lights and smart TVs, or change the temperature on my thermostat, makes it a lot more useful than your use case. Those functions were so fun and useful for the family when we were visiting a cousin's house, that I bought two (one for my brother, one for my sister and her kids). For $25 each -- that's a low barrier. And I absolutely didn't care for smart speakers or any "always listening" device before this.

2. Damac71nina

Posts: 21; Member since: Aug 06, 2012

I agree with this article, getting old and boring lol I’m 31 so I’m know how you feel. I’m not upgrading my phones yearly anymore and consoles have become boring. Now I’m getting back into pc gaming so I can blow more money on a new gpu that I probably don’t need and get bored of it in a couple of months

3. Ichimoku

Posts: 165; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

Yeah, AI on the camera of the smartphone is just unnecessary.

16. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Seriously, AI on anything is a breakthrough. AI like a human discover fire, it will exponentially improve human productivity

20. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1553; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Or one day destroy us.

25. cmdacos

Posts: 4122; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

The best mobile camera disputes your statement

32. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 966; Member since: Feb 02, 2012

Most of the fluff features are unnecessary, in my opinion. I'm 33, and I am in the same boat. Once you reach 30, anything "new" is more foreign than exciting, and foreign designs and products are a turn-off. We saw tech go from cassette tapes to digital, saw games go from Atari to X-Box and saw desktop PC's go from beige barf to RGB mayhem. Tech changed in great ways but now that I'm about to hit my mid-30's, NONE of the new tech is interesting or exciting, it's just foreign and boring.

38. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

AI for camera is one thing, but there is AI for music listening, smart assistants, and more. It's here to stay whether you believe me or others. That's a guarantee. Also AI on smart speakers is one thing, but their is AI on smart displays as well. Amazon's smart displays are not even two years old yet. Google's smart displays are not even a year old. You going to see a lot more AI smart devices not only in homes, but in businesses, offices, restaurants, Airports, health care facilities, and more. I guarantee it.

4. MrMalignance

Posts: 295; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

I agree with your tech points. A lot of build quality suffers for looks. the "innovations" are so miniscule that we have companies sueing people over the degree of curvature on a corner, or the way an animation fades out. Most of your complaints seem to be based on the fact that you expect more quality out of your devices, that is normal. As for the social media stories and all: I never understood why they are needed, and personally never read them. If I see one, I always pass over it like an advertisement.

5. Leo_MC

Posts: 7262; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Tech is still great - it has never been a better tech than the one we have today - the problem that you have is trying to understand (and worse than that: to use) things that were created for dumb people. C'mon, dude, you're 32, do you still play games?! And if you do, you're crazy enough to play them on tiny phone (and pay for a shinny new sword)?! AI is huge but, again, used accordingly; I paid a few tens of thousands € for a ML engine to use with a service - I love what it does and I'm working everyday on new areas to use it (I would also be bored by a dinosaur in my room or look at Ikea furniture). Smart speakers - when I'm going to control my house through an assistant, I will fill up my house with microphones; I will use the 10y old Sony sound system until I will see fit to change something. Phones... well, they are tougher than ever, powerful than ever, more useful than ever. Just think about having access to the entire encyclopedia, being able to read any book ever written, listen to every song ever recorded, seeing your children on the other side of the continent, book a flight in seconds, getting directions, having live reports with the stats of your businesses while you are on the surfboard, buying and selling stuff in seconds, writing in the journal or just jotting random thoughts, capturing and exchanging memories; and everything with the same device that fits in your pocket. Tech is great, dude, if you make it great and it's boring, if you make it boring; you just have to stop doing boring stuff, designed to get money from the billions of dumb mobile phone users, and you'll rediscover what tech is all about. Good luck with that!

6. Vancetastic

Posts: 1131; Member since: May 17, 2017

I’m 52, and I stil play games, even on my phone. Judge me if you want, but I like to have fun sometimes, even at my advanced age.

8. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015

Vance, we're around the same age and therefore grew up with the start of the video game era. I still play on my phone, tablet and with my son on his Xbox. Age has nothing to do with it. Cool games still excite me. But I'm still trying to find the original brickbreaker I used to play on my original Blackberry.

12. Vancetastic

Posts: 1131; Member since: May 17, 2017

I’d like some classic phone games for my modern phone myself!

10. Leo_MC

Posts: 7262; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Of course I'm not going to judge you; I work 24h/day that's why I will never take from the time I spend with the family, the beer time, the reading time, the gym time, the going out etc and use it to play games, watch sports or tv shows, but I'm only talking about myself. I still have so much sex to make (my ancestors got bored of sex at 80-90 years old, so I have a long time until I will get there), so many things to learn, so many people to meet, so many puppies to play with, so many money to make, I just can't find time in my life to play games on a damn phone.

11. Vancetastic

Posts: 1131; Member since: May 17, 2017


35. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015


34. TheOracle1

Posts: 2223; Member since: May 04, 2015

Apple fans are now sex machines too! I guess you've never had to kill time at an airport or waiting for an appointment? Please spare us the bs. I'm now certain that you're much younger than us just because of your comments. Grow up bro.

41. mrochester

Posts: 979; Member since: Aug 17, 2014

If I’m waiting for an appointment I’m either reading tech news websites or forum posts on my phone, or just watching the world go by.

42. Leo_MC

Posts: 7262; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I’m just doing what I can with what I have available ;). Of course I have my dead moments, but I do what I do now: read a ebook, post a message, look at my messages, talk to a friend, look for a surprise for her; there are numerous things one can do with a little spare time, instead of wasting it with playing games.

47. Vancetastic

Posts: 1131; Member since: May 17, 2017

There is NO way he typed that with a straight face....I hope.

21. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1553; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

My dad is 64 and plays games on his phone more than I do. Nothing wrong with it, it's a form of entertainment.

43. Leo_MC

Posts: 7262; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Well, I’m glad my dad (also over 60y old) doesn’t like to play games on the phone, because this way he is walking more than 10k steps everyday (he never leaves without the health band :D); I will get them Apple Watches when the batteries will last 1 week (maybe with their way of using them they last, I have to look into it).

46. Hatshipuh

Posts: 163; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

So we are at a point were not playing games makes you feel superior than others on the internet? Well playing games or not, wasting times in a comment section of some random tech site repeatedly telling others how you could use your time more efficiently is quite ironic. On topic, I don't agree on everything. Things get boring because one self loses interest in looking deeper into it and only glimpse at new things on the surface. Progress is always happening, it's just on your own if you want to keep up or not.

48. Leo_MC

Posts: 7262; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Not only I feel better by not playing games, I know I am a better person because I don’t. You know how much it takes to write this message? Less than 1 minute.

50. Hatshipuh

Posts: 163; Member since: Aug 09, 2012

Still tracking replies here, so stop wasting your time here replying lol, even if it's less than a minute, your 5000+ posts do add up. Go talk to someone in real life instead of boasting around to us internet people haha.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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