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Tech Products That Should Never Have Been Conceived January 11, 2018

Posted by Peter Varhol in Technology and Culture.
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I say that with some trepidation, for a number of reasons.  First, for the last 30 years I’ve made my living off of tech in some capacity or other.  Second, I’m all in favor of progress in technology.  It makes those of us who work in it wealthier, and it has the potential to significantly benefit society.

It’s the direction of progress that sometimes concerns me.  There are a number of things that can be invented, but probably should not be.  One is the Gita, from Boston-based Vespa subsidiary Piaggio Fast Forward.  Gita is a mobile item carrier that follows people carrying up to 44 pounds.  It simply rolls along behind you,

A close second is the auto-following suitcase.  A young WSJ writer covering CES (paywall) writes about her experiences with these, and likens having to pull your own carry-on through an airport as hiking the Oregon Trail.  Um.  She points out that it’s practical, in that you can have an iced latte in each hand, and not worry about losing your bag.  Right.

What’s even worse is the Modobag, a ridable piece of luggage.  And the images on the website show young people using it.  I am imagining playing bumper cars, so to speak, in a crowded airport concourse.

I recognize that there is a niche though possibly legitimate use for products like these.  Elderly or infirm might find them useful, although that represents a pretty small percentage of the traveling public.  And despite an occasional marketing word to the contrary, these products are clearly focused on an entirely different demographic.

And I recognize that at least a few of the articles are intended to be partly tongue-in-cheek.  But that’s no excuse to not conclude that these particular emperors have no clothes.

But we have reached an era where tech companies don’t particularly care about benefitting society.  They think they can make their fortunes on young people who think they are hip by spending thousands of dollars on the latest gadgets.

Gita was announced a year ago, and doesn’t even seem to be in beta yet, so perhaps it will never see daylight.  Good.  And most airlines have said that they will not embark motorized bags in which the battery cannot be removed.  As these bags will take up more space and weight than a conventional bag, I see this as only a half measure, but it is causing some rethinking among companies making them.

Folks, forget the stupid iced latte.  Stuff like this serves no purpose whatsoever except to make you look silly.



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