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Good Technology, Bad Technology

by Steve Prentice  |  January 15, 2010  |  1 Comment

I am currently visiting numerous clients in California en-route to a briefing tour in Asia Pacific (the point of which will become apparent shortly!).

In the course of discussions the question was asked “Is their Good Technology and Bad Technology?”. I thought this was an odd question and paused momentarily. Now perhaps it was the fact that I had recently gone through the increasingly security conscious immigration process past all those pistol-packing officials (seriously has an immigration officer ever pulled their weapon and threatened, let alone shot, a prospective immigrant because they had filled in the wrong box on the form?!), but I was reminded of the unshakeable mantra of the National Rifle Association here in the United States – “Guns don’t kill people!”.  Now call me a timid Brit, but my natural aversion to firearms always induces my silent response to this claim “…. but they sure make it a lot easier”.

The same I fear is true of technology. Like guns, technology has no morals, murderous intent or values – it is just stuff. There is no good technology or bad technology but there does appear to be an awful lot of bad implementation! Good technology applied badly usually ends up with the technology getting the blame, usually because it cannot answer back!

Like Darwinian Evolution the good implementations survive, bad ones decay. As Anthropologist and Intel research fellow Genevieve Bell told me some time back – “Technology succeeds when it meets a need that people care about!”. If the technology deployment doesn’t meet a need – it is doomed to extinction. If it doesn’t do anything that people care about, it is equally doomed. Think about that the next time you get seduced by the flashy new toys from the technology sector. Find the need. Find the people who care – and you will succeed!

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Category: behaviour  technology  

Tags: context  value  

Stephen Prentice
VP & Gartner Fellow
13 years at Gartner
35 years IT industry

Stephen Prentice is a VP and Gartner Fellow working in the Executive Leadership and Innovation Group (part of CIO Research). He takes a specific interest in emerging trends and the long-term future of technology - looking at the intersection of technology, business and society. Current research interests include... Read Full Bio


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