Snippets from The Economist on tech failures

Some of the bits I was interested in, featured in last week edition of The Economist's technology quarterly:Radio silence, about what happened to RIFD, once hailed as a breakthrough that would revolutionise logistics:

" it was not surprising that RFID was widely regarded by many in technology as the “next big thing”. RFID was reassuringly coupled to the solid, real-world economy, rather than to dotcom intangibles such as “eyeballs” and “mindshare” (...) Despite such predictions, however, RFID has not lived up to expectations (...) What went wrong? Aside from the over-optimism common to many new technologies and the concerns of privacy activists, RFID did badly for two reasons. The first was that a veritable Babel of incompatible standards grew up. (...) And standards do not solve everything: RFID, like any other technology, is subject to the laws of physics. Metals and liquids can cause interference that prevents tags from being read properly in some situations. (...) It is not just technical concerns that have hindered the deployment of RFID. A more fundamental obstacle is the lack of a clear business case. "

Are you talking to me? is a short overview of where we stand regarding speech recognition applications. This excerpts stroke me as fascinating:

"“People have a lot of negative perceptions of speech technology, because the speech systems deployed first were pretty bad,” says Mr Hong. Mr Castro agrees. “There's a history of disappointment and failed expectations,” he says. When setting up his firm, he presented his idea to some venture capitalists. They were impressed by the technology but were put off by the term “voice recognition” which, like “artificial intelligence”, is associated with systems that have all too often failed to live up to their promises."

Why do I blog this? as usual, the E is a very compelling resource that describe why promises haven't been reached. It's interesting to see the parallels between different innovation that are presented in the tech quarterly, the common thread about failures and expectations. Besides, the article written by Bruno about Jan Chipchase and Stefana Broadbent is also very informative, describing some relevant cases about certain technologies are employed by beyond-occidental-white-users.