Something for the Weekend, Sir? Don't you just love it at this time of the year when Some Experts predict the new technologies most likely to catch on over the next 12 months? Me neither.
Three Januarys ago I proposed five technologies NOT to look out for. Reading it again today, I get the impression I may as well copy and paste it here for 2019. IoT, VR, 5G … fail, fail, fail. Wacky wearables? Everything's a watch now. Cool IT jobs? In your wet dreams, pal.
That three-year-old column is, however, smugly enlightening on a personal basis as it includes a pre-weight-loss selfie.
Anyway, I've let three pre-recorded Jools Hollands go by without a proper update to my visions of the near future. Just about everyone else has had a go throughout December to posit predictions for the IT industry, and now it's my turn to spout my own ill-informed bollocks to add to theirs.
Ladies and gentlemen, please top up your glasses, take your seats and set your phones to silent as I unveil the pre-emptive Dabbs Awards for Unwanted Technology. The following feature includes flashing lights, strong language, mild horror, some nudity. Welcome to…
TECH I WILL NOT TOUCH IN 2019
- A smart speaker
What, you've actually PAID to own a mediocre mono speaker that listens to your farts when you think no-one else is around and you don't consider that (a) poor value, (b) creepy as fuck and (c) slightly less useful than the SodaStream your Mum bought for Christmas 1978? No thank you, I do not wish a digital sneak in the room to secretly record my breathing pattern and mistakenly order 1,000 toilet rolls each time my cat sneezes.
- Any IoT device
The most apt example of the Idiot of Things has to be the Ekster 3 Smart Wallet. It contains a GPS tracker so that you will never lose it, or at least know where it is when you do. It even responds to voice command via smartphone app and smart speaker skill to make your misplaced wallet produce a ringing sound. This should be especially appreciated by night-time house breakers who might be having trouble locating your valuables in the dark. "Psst, Alexa, where's 'my' wallet?" Ta-da! Here I am, Mr Burglar!
- An autonomous vehicle
I may as well say a flying car, or indeed a flying pig. That said, I do wish Apple would hurry up and develop an electric car so we can have a laugh when owners discover that the driver, passengers and luggage must all pass through just one door as all the others have been removed, they'll need a proprietary handle adapter to open it. After 14 months, the vehicle will run at 10 mph maximum with dim headlights in order to preserve the battery.
- Anything using fingerprint access
Vein authentication is no longer secure, apparently. Nor do you need a bag of jelly babies (Tom Baker, please note). A wax cast of your hand is all that's required now, so expect a rise in celebrity break-ins to be traced back to Mme Tussauds.
- A robot
One in four women would have sex with a robot, according to this survey. In that case, she can buy her bloody own.
I was fascinated to watch my initial investment of 0.00002232 BTC, worth less than a penny at the beginning of 2013, proceed to reach the giddy sterling value of 33 pence by Christmas 2017 before settling down to 7 pence this week. This is not a currency, this is road rash. I am still intrigued by blockchain and can envision a purpose for cryptocurrency as a concept but Bitcoin is exclusively for fools, liars and conmen.
Beware of anything described as "AI" because this invariably means it isn't AI: it's just programmed that way. We should rebrand AI as PS = "Programmed Software".
- Choose-your-own-adventure entertainment
Forgive me, Black Mirror fans, but you can stuff that idea up your RPG. When Squaxx Dek Thargo sought their thrill-power with Judge Dredd role-playing books and a couple of dice in 1985, it felt pretty naff even then. Choose my own? I choose not to.
- Travel sector tech
I am bombarded with press releases from travel industry tech companies that insist their products promise both enhanced digitalisation and more self-service options to travellers. In other words, if you want a decent holiday, arrange it yourself. This will of course cost you more, while pushing more people currently working in the hospitality sector out of a job.
- Personal voice assistants for retail
Brilliant concept, this one. After all, talking chat bots perform so well in other industries, don't they? Ah but these voice assistants also use voice recognition to provide customers with a er… custom shopping experience. No thanks: it will probably tell me Hitler was right, recognise my cat and promptly place an order for 100 swastika-embossed toilet rolls.
- Any computer game invented after 1994
That's just me. All games since 1994 were imitations. Or shite.
- The new Doctor Who's new Sonic Screwdriver
What are you, a fucking 8-year-old? It's a TV series for children.
- Music on vinyl
If I want to relive that good old record-player sound experience, I'll just listen to an MP3 while the tumble drier is running with a pair of wet jeans and three loose marbles in it, occasionally tapping the |< and >| buttons randomly to replay or skip a couple of seconds.
That's enough predictions; you're depressed as it is without me making it worse. Not to worry, it's back to normal next week so I'll just leave you with two minutes of gloriously up-to-date electronic sound while looking at cheesy tech from yesteryear. My treat, you'll love it.