The next SIRG seminar will take place on Wednesday 23 February at 2 pm. Details follow.
Wednesday 23 February 2011 @ 2 pm
David Gorham Library, Open University (first floor Venables, N1015)
The Book of Flops: Technologies that Promised but Didn’t Deliver
Technology, and especially digital technology, is now a staple topic for popular and academic discussion. Along with this ubiquity have come standard, even formulaic, ways of talking about technology, for example as a driver of growth and prosperity. But do these standard accounts of technology conceal important truths?
In this talk I will briefly discuss a small selection of technologies from the last decade which were innovative, for which ambitious claims were made, and which enjoyed considerable commercial support, and yet have now virtually disappeared from (or are disappearing from) serious consideration. They include ultrawideband (UWB), digital radio mondiale (DRM), mobile Wimax and smartbooks.
I wish to suggest that in preaching sermons about technology, we should take our texts not only from the Book of Successes, but also from the Book of Flops. To do otherwise is to misrepresent how technological developments prosper.