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What's next is uh-oh

Ben Evans in his newsletter this week:

The mobile market is reaching saturation, and so is the smartphone market, and Apple has won the high end of the smartphone market. This is not ‘the fall of Apple’ — it’s just the shift of smartphones to boring maturity, as we look for what’s next.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m looking forward to all of the things that we expect and don’t expect in the future. Nothing is cooler when someone comes up with an idea, markets it well, and it gets spread all over the world.

I hope we come up with a recommended ruleset for personal computing someday. Something like a manual that is built on ethical foundation. How one can use all of these awesome things without hurting themselves. Something that is woven into the morale conduct of our culture.

What I’ve experienced is that as long as the tech is used for non-educational consumption it hurts. When it’s used for expression of creativity it grows one’s mind. Perhaps this principle can be a guiding star for what’s good and what’s bad.

So why “what’s next” is uh-oh? Because this new thing will be more addictive than anything else we have nowadays. Think about it: you can only beat something like a smartphone if you come up with a tool that brings more convenience. It will allow getting all of the information you want with less friction. It will allow to perform similar tasks in less time. And after we’ve eaten the sacred fruit of the enhanced lifestyle, it’s very painful to go back. Life becomes faster. Barriers disappear. Some important tasks are not doable anymore without this new thing (think of WeChat and payments in China).

But it will bring some devastating side-effects, like anything else humanity has developed (except bicycles, surfing, piano, bridges and corgi). And we’ll have to unwind the deminishing effects on the society. One step forward, two steps back.

How can we make sure the newest coolest thing doesn’t bite us in the arse? No idea!

May a tool not become a master. Think of sustainability upfront.

Last edited on Jan 16, 2019