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.

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32 Comments

1. joshuaswingle

Posts: 743; 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: 73; 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: 1043; 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: 1871; 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: 27; 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: 187; Member since: Nov 18, 2018

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

16. cncrim

Posts: 1590; 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: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Or one day destroy us.

25. cmdacos

Posts: 4381; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

The best mobile camera disputes your statement

32. sgtdisturbed47

Posts: 974; 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: 351; 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.

7. Vancetastic

Posts: 1866; Member since: May 17, 2017

I agree with the article. Things seem to have stagnated...I do remain optimistic for the future, though. Bring on futuristic battery tech!

9. OdysseasP

Posts: 67; Member since: Aug 08, 2014

I am 40 years old but I don't think my age is the problem. Back in 1996 Nokia announced the Nokia 9000 Communicator and after two years in 1998 announced the Nokia 9110 Communicator. Imagine using a Nokia 2110 in 1994 or a Nokia 6150 in 1998 and then suddenly start using one of the Communicators. But it wasn't only Nokia. Ericsson announced the Ericsson GH688 in 1996 and after 4 years in 2000 it announced the Ericsson R380 which had a touchscreen with a stylus, while in 2002 in released the Sony Ericsson P800 which added a colour TFT screen with 4,096 colours into the mix. And it wasn't only the big three (Nokia, Ericsson & Motorola) which innovated. Benefon announced in 1999 the Benefon Esc!, which was the first mobile phone to feature GPS and a large for the time display in order to make navigation easier. I mean mobile phones were exciting back then and within a few years from one generation to the other offered vast improvements in both hardware and software. Nowadays, the removal of 3.5mm jack or a pen tile matrix display is considered innovation.

13. Heisenberg

Posts: 378; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

The issue is this new generation are dumber than the predessessor. It's a mess in various sections

14. vtpmt81

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 02, 2018

It is because nothing truly groundbreaking has come out in years. Apple had its big moments in 2001, 2007, 2010, and 2012 with the releases of the iPod (2001), iPhone (2007), iPhone 4/iPad(2010), and MacBook Pro Retina (2012). They also introduced TouchID in 2013 and FaceID in 2017. However, if you have an iPhone 6s - do you really need a iPhone X? What are you really getting? You can find a brand new iPhone 6s for less than $400 and it will be supported for 2 more years. Why pay $1000 for an iPhone XS? It is the same for Android. Early Android phones like the HTC Hero, Motorola Droid/Milestone, Samsung Galaxy S were slow and laggy. However, Android OEMs and Google made huge improvements over the years - the SGS2 and Galaxy Note were huge hits for Samsung and led to their dominance. HTC produced some great phones like the HTC One M7. Motorola had some success and then took over the budget market with the Moto G - one of the first budget phones with an HD screen. The Moto G came out in 2013. The Galaxy Note 4 is great phone and it came out in 2014. The Note 4 had a headphone jack, removable battery and IR blaster. New flagship phones are great. Most have great cameras, fast processors, AI capabilities, great screens, etc. However - all of this is just iterative. Phonearena has another article that new phones bring minor upgrades and that is okay. How is charging $600 - $1000 for a phone with minor upgrades okay? With Apple - at least you can buy a iPhone 7 and it will be supported for years. With Android - you have to buy a developer friendly phone if you want support. That being said - 1 year old flagship Android phones are a great deal since you can get them for less than $500.

36. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

You've overlooked the Chinese and that's where the innovation is coming from.

18. J2017

Posts: 77; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

Maybe stop being such an apple fanboy and realize Huawei and other Android OEM's are innovating?

19. pablumatic

Posts: 21; Member since: Nov 22, 2012

Tech was more interesting when 3D screens were getting released. There was even at least one passive 3D smartphone early on. Higher and higher resolutions do nothing for me. Especially not on mobile since I can't even see individual pixels on a four year old 2560x1440 Note 4. Only some major revolution is going to get me interested in new tech now. A return to 3D would help.

22. Kaostheory

Posts: 18; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

Lol obviously you're not as technical as you think. My friends are in their 50s and have been building and fixing our computers without help, including using dos commands. Do you know what the basic Tron (like the movie) stands for? You obviously don't remember or have played old games where your enemies respawn in the same place. AI allows games to play more naturally. Some AI in other programs are in its infancy and we won't see the benefits yet. I agree we are in a tech lul and even most of the stuff in TV and movies seems closer than ever. With most of the imaginable tech within our reach it does seem like there's no surprises coming, but we'll have to wait and see.

33. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Video games don't actually use AI yet, not in the way Google and others are currently developing it for actual machine learning, it's still a bunch of if then else statements. Still very predictable and unable to actually adapt.

24. perry1234

Posts: 654; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

I agree with most of the points that you said, but your opinion,to me atleast, is subjective and I feel, is defined by the interactions you have had with devices and people around you.So within the parameters you defined, your points are 100% sensible Overall, I think that there is some stagnation , but not to an extent that is described in this article. Some off the top of my head are : (1) The fact that I don't know anyone in real life who plays "Clash of Clans" -esque games (2) Someone who buys a brand and not a phone (3) Someone who gets tech just for the heck of it. I sincerely hope for the downfall of these freemium games, providing less quality gameplay and relying more on the emotional manipulation of a gullible audience.

27. Vadermando

Posts: 26; Member since: Dec 19, 2011

I'm 32 and I approve this message

28. SamU370

Posts: 1; Member since: Jan 18, 2019

I'm 21 and I agree with all of this

29. BLUEBLASTER

Posts: 952; Member since: Feb 23, 2014

I feel the same. We grew up with all the technology evolution with smartphones and know when we are getting BS with all the mobile games and AI crap. The sad thing is Vidoe games are going the same way with online only and micro transactions.

31. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1603; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I'm 30, I used to be a major geek that loved to play with new tech and new software because I could. Played with numerous linux distros because I could, always looked forward to the new windows, loved to modify my phone with themes and launchers. Still love tech, but software wise I just want things to work. I find myself annoyed when an app or program updates and moves things around or changes the UI, I get annoyed by Android updates, don't use launchers. I just want it to work. That's my biggest change with age, my priorities are more on my home, family, and other hobbies like photography. I still get excited about advances in technology, just not so much about software changes. Oh and I felt the same about smart speakers until my buddy set up several Google Homes for audio playback in multiple rooms. So much better than bluetooth speakers.

39. ingloryon

Posts: 11; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

I am 100% with you. 30 yrs old here.

44. DefinitiveKid

Posts: 264; Member since: May 15, 2013

Nick, as a fellow 30-plus year old, I think you nailed it on every level. I was thinking about starting a tech channel a while ago, but ultimately didn't because I anticipated the "behind-the-scene" work for putting out quality content would overtake the joy of using new devices for myself and just enjoy them. Also, the difference between now and 15 years ago is that tech has matured enough and become mainstream enough that manufacturers and developpers can now focus on maximizing sales while sparingly working on meaningful innovations. Genuine fun is going away and now you're lured into spending more for less. Mobile games are a good example. I hope you find a way to keep your passion intact, we still have some amazing stuff to look forward to!

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