The World Without Inventions
The World Without Inventions
Spencer Brown (Inventor And Founder) gives expert video advice on: What inventions would be hardest to live without?; What would the world be like without computers?; Do inventions make us dumber? and more...
What inventions would be hardest to live without?
With out electricity, you know, just think about it, when the power goes out in your home and you don't have candles or flashlights, and the batteries run out, you need electricity and that is an invention. I think the computer and I think telephones and I think medicine. Without those we are pretty screwed. Our way of life is becoming ultra, ultra sophisticated. We live and die by the technology we have and we are creating such an efficient marketplace that it is all based on inventions and I know a lot of people will pick up a phone and they just accept it that the phone has always been there but for older people, they remember when writing a letter was the only way to communicate but as younger people pick up the phone, they have no idea that it was invented. They have adopted it and say, "This is part of my life", and if you took that away from them they would be stuck. They wouldn't know how to write a letter.
What would the world be like without computers?
The younger generation are so wired into technology. If you were to take electricity out of the equation, none of the gizmos work. And if none of the gizmos work, I don't know if a young person would be able to have a face to face conversation with their friend. It would be so awkward and so difficult for them because they are reliant on this technology. It bridges and electronically they're wired into this warp drive economy. It's amazing to see because I know growing up I never had a computer and now I work on my computer, you know, so many hours a day that I can't live without it. I couldn't even really organize or be efficient without my computer. I need my computer. I need it. I need my I-tunes. I need my phone. I need my GPS, I can't even read a map. Why? I mean, well I could ten years ago. I can tell you exactly how to get Google maps to load on your cell phone and it will tell you exactly where you are and how to go.
Do inventions make us dumber?
I think certain inventions take out the, the mental computations and processes needed to get things done, because we are making it so easy for us to speed dial, so how about do math? You know, when's the last time you actually wrote down and balanced your check book? I haven't balanced my check book in a decade, it's on Quicken. I click two buttons and it does it and if it looks right, we move on. I think the other thing too is innovations in terms of technology is getting to the point when it's fuzzy logic, it's a little bit of thinking for us, and when you do that in your mind, you're not getting dumber, you're just using your mind in a different way. Maybe we're getting smarter by harnessing this technology, but I think inventions are a great way of replacing redundancy, and that's been something that I've seen as a common denominator of all inventions, if you have a redundant process, time to bring in an inventor to change that so it's more efficient, and I think technology eliminates the redundancy out of our lives.
What inventions are keeping people alive?
The one invention that's definitely keeping a lot of people alive is the stint. And I also think pacemakers are doing a great job. Another unique invention in terms of medical care are EKG monitors that monitor people when they're in critical condition to regulate if there's an issue. Those are all done by vendors and they've spent a lot of time and money to get them to market, and they save lives. I think that one of the cool things about bringing product to market, if you're in that space, is you're able to help somebody when they're in need.
Do inventions make the world better or just different?
I think the inventions make the world more efficient, and if you're looking for efficiency, it's better. I think the inventions also give people the ability to change their behavior without really knowing that they're doing it. I used to go and buy CD's and then take them in and load them. And now, I just click a couple buttons and I have iTunes. The iPod is a great invention which is changing - I'm still listening to music, but I'm doing it differently, and I'm doing it more efficiently. I don't buy a CD for twenty bucks, I buy a song for a dollar. I think the world is different, but I think it just makes it more efficient.