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.

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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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