The Great Promise of Technology

At rare times in our collective history a tech product is introduced – one that is so new it doesn’t have a market.  It’s capabilities and functionality are largely undefined – left to others to uncover. These devices and services offer tremendous promise. They offer promise about what can come to fruition through the right application of the technology.  They offer promise of what tomorrow can bring.  The future is wide open to these products. They are positioned to disrupt.

Edison originally thought his phonograph invention would be used for deathbed recordings and limited dictation.  But applied – it has changed entire industries and ultimately our culture. Philo Farnsworth’s television system did the same. Then the personal computers of the 1970s.  More recently mobile telephony followed by today’s smartphone.

These product introductions might not always make sense when taking out of this context.  In 2010 we saw it with 3DTV. Ultimately, 3DTV didn’t fulfill market expectations within the timelines prescribed to it.  But the initial buzz around the initial launch was driven by the belief that it might change things as we know it.  Tablets in 2011 held the same position.  The jury remains out if tablets will fulfill their destiny of fundamentally changing how we computer and  interact with other experiences (ie TV and “second screen”).

This year we have several technologies with great promise. I believe the appeal of smartwatches encompasses this great promise. Google Glasses fall into this category as well.  New applications applied to a unique form factor of computing power and connectivity have the potential to disrupt how we live our lives.  Unknown applications are waiting to be discovered.

Over the last 24 hours there have been hundreds thousands of articles written about the realization that selling Google Glasses received under the Explorer program is strictly verboten (see here and 1,000+ other places). Outside of some overzealous attorneys, I think (I hope) this restriction is designed with the intention that Google has put this new technology in the hands of those they believe best positioned to help realize the great promise of this new technology.