How much technology is too much?

A few years ago there was a prototype appliance that merged

a refrigerator and the Internet. It had a computer

monitor in the door and the cooler was online. As I recall, the idea was to have instant access to thousands of

recipes; the online tie-in was to increase access to databases of cooking and

recipe Web sites and even notify someone who is mobile to pick up a dozen eggs

on the way home in order to have a complete set of ingredients. My memory is a bit hazier on this next one,

but I believe the same general idea was applied to a microwave oven. As far as I know, this idea never took off and

I haven't heard about it for a few years. But I was reminded of it again this past weekend while browsing through PC Today, a freebie left in my Atlanta

hotel room. An article discussed a

service called E.V.A., an "electronic virtual assistant." For a minimum of about $60.00 a month the

busy professional can call (or e-mail) E.V.A. and a real live person will take

a message and in turn e-mail the message to the intended recipient. This made me wonder, how much is enough? Wouldn't it be just as easy to call the

person, or e-mail her yourself? My two

teenage daughters both bought new phones recently that have Web and e-mail

capability. As with everything in the

cellular world, these sorts of add-ons to phoning capabilities will be

ubiquitous soon enough. Why would

someone pay $60/month for a third-person party to do what either voice-mail,

e-mail, or a phone call would do? My

point is there is a time when we reach saturation with technology. More is not

always better.  I'm not a curmudgeon on

such things and I do realize that pioneers in any field are going to miss a few

before they hit a home run. In fact, I

rather like experimenting with new technology. I dived into Vista probably before it was prudent and have been updating

hardware and drivers left and right since. Of course, the flood of technology is not likely to slow. I tell my graduate students in their

educational technology for school leaders that my motto is "technology cannot

be stopped and youth will be served." So

the question becomes, how does one separate the wheat from the chaff,

especially in a school setting? More on

that tomorrow.

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

Why Lil Dicky made this star-studded Earth Day music video

"Earth" features about 30 of the biggest names in entertainment.

Culture & Religion
  • Lil Dicky is a rapper and comedian who released his debut album in 2015.
  • His new music video, "Earth," features artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheehan, Kevin Hart, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • All proceeds of the music video will go to environmental causes, Dicky said.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less

Behold, the face of a Neolithic dog

He was a very good boy.

Image source: Historic Environment Scotland
Surprising Science
  • A forensic artist in Scotland has made a hyper realistic model of an ancient dog.
  • It was based on the skull of a dog dug up in Orkney, Scotland, which lived and died 4,000 years ago.
  • The model gives us a glimpse of some of the first dogs humans befriended.
Keep reading Show less