Saturday, January 23, 2016

Smart Technology

As old folks understand, technology changes over time, and our perception of what technology is capable of also changes over time.  For example, once upon a time, in the early '50s, our telephone technology consisted of something called "the black 500".  Manufactured by the Western Electric corporation, it was ubiquitous in American households and you could make telephone calls all over the United States.  Here's what it looked like.

Great technology, and if you own one, you can still use it today.You can still make phone calls all over the US.  It had its limitations, but it worked.  It worked very well.  Nowadays, telephone technology has moved into smart phones.  Many people son't even have a "land-line" phone in their home.  It's much more convenient to carry a cell phone in your pocket.

Technology pervades our culture.  Smart phones, smart TVs, cars with wireless hotspots, computers of all stripes, laptops, tablets and even that smart phone in your pocket.  Technology is wonderful.

Even smart guns.  It seems that a poll was conducted last week, concerning the availability of smart guns, and it led to some interesting results.  Although those results were both programmed and predictable.
Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the Web-based survey of nearly 4,000 people indicated interest in the tech-infused guns, which use fingerprint detection or wireless signals to limit use of the weapon to its owner.

That sounds like a great idea, doesn't it?  A gun that only works when its owner is holding it!  Great stuff!  So, of those respondents who said they'd buy a smart gun, how did they self-identify?
 Non-owners of guns and people identifying as "liberal" were most likely to consider buying smart guns, while owners of multiple guns were least likely.
So, did they run out and buy one?  No, they didn't.  As it turns out, the technology is available, but hasn't been successfully integrated into a firearm yet.  A firm called Armatix GmbH is trying, but the field trials have been less than satisfying.
The Armatix pistol initially required a full 20 minutes to pair with the watch, even with the aid of an IT pro trained in its use. Without pairing, the Armatix functions like any other handgun, capable of being fired by anyone. Once paired, a “cold start” still requires a minimum of seven push-button commands and a duration of 12 seconds before the gun can be fired. The pistol must be within 10 inches of the watch during “start up.” This slows and complicates the use of the pistol if one hand is injured or otherwise unavailable.
So, the technology is in its infancy, and unless lots of people start buying them, the technology will likely not advance.  Because we expect stuff to work when we take it out of the box.  And this doesn't, from all accounts.  Maybe some day, but not today.  Still, all those non-gun-owners and liberals should be investing in this company.  I think that would be a great use of their capital.  And, who knows, one day, it might pay off.

As for myself, I'll stick with proven 1873 technology, or 1911 technology, or 1980s technology.  It's proven, it's reliable, it's predictable.  And, while I like my smart phone, I'd just as soon have a dumb gun.  It's easier that way.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an engagement at the gun club today.

1 comment:

6ShotsOr5? said...

Yeah, I like the ones that always go "bang" when I pull the trigger. Save that sh*t for computers ... "Are you sure? Click YES or NO."