Soul of an Old Machine

, Jul 11, 2014
Last week I posted a long and (I hope) thoughtful article about a conversation I had with a friend regarding smartwatches, namely the new G Watch and Gear Live.

And I touched on the subject of ‘soul,’ something I don’t think these new devices have.

I also touched on life expectancy. Something most new devices definitely don’t have, no matter how well they’re made. Even if the device doesn’t break, it becomes obsolete within a year or two. New developments, new software that needs more memory and/or more processing power, indeed new operating systems pushing out the old, all these things contribute to obsolescence.

I know writers who would nearly kill to have an old 286 PC running MS-DOS and Word Perfect 5.1. For a wonder, THAT setup would be just as fast as the latest Core processor-equipped machine running Microsoft Word.

A mechanical watch? Some exist which are running upwards of 200 years after they were made. Certainly you can find any number of pocket watches made 80 to 125 years ago. They run very nicely, thank you, with only routine service every few years.

Said watches will have been handed down from grandfather to father to son, and will show no signs of slowing down.

By the time a specific example of the smartwatch is 110 years old, it will be a curiosity in a museum and nothing more. It will not be functional, even if it’s electronic guts are in perfect working order. Advancing technology will have relegated it so.

Its mechanical brethren will only look on and smile and keep ticking away, marking the time for its owner before being passed to yet another generation.

If that’s not soul, I don’t know what is.

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Robinjack

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