Saturday, September 25, 2010
Ok, we have the search engine and the iPAD. Now what?
After looking at the issues facing our country in the last 2 years, one thing has become clear to me: technology has not been able to solve things that matter the most. The two things Americans spend most of their money are housing costs and healthcare. And the two areas that technology has been least helpful are in these areas. Technology has not helped bring about a rational housing market, discover fair market interest rates, or evolve a market place where houses are bought or sold in a fairer way. This goes for health care as well. While we have excellent mobile devices with entertaining content, we are struggling to create efficient housing and health care markets or education markets. More people seem to be able to gain access to iPAD and Android phones than decent housing, education and quality health care. Drawing from Einstein's PhD thesis on Random Motion of particles (Brownian Motion), particles travel in the path of least resistance. People do the same thing as well. They adopt and subscribe to the path of least resistance. Right now, the value in an iPAD is fair, efficient and easily accessible (the path of least resistance) than the value of owning a house or getting healthcare or electing the Congress or investing in the stock market (the trading volumes have plunged). When people face resistance in a path, they tend to drop that path. So, owning a house, obtaining health care or electing the right people are going to go out of fashion, while buying video games, music, iPAD are going to catch on - simply because it is so much more easier to do so. The younger generation has certainly moved away from owning a house (they all prefer renting), buying health care (they prefer community clinics) and not participating in electoral process (they dont see the right candidates) and have instead resorted to buying mobile devices of all sorts and making friends on online social network (resistance faced in the actual world??). Note how Apple's stock or FaceBook's private stock has shot up in a time of volatile housing and healthcare markets. Everyone knows that an iPAD cannot give you better health care, cook better food for you - yet we choose iPhones and iPADs over health insurance or buying quality food. It is not the fault of the consumer that we've become so, but the amazingly resistant paths that powers-that-be have created to owning houses or investing in healthcare or working the stock market. Maybe I should have an XBOX, PS3, WII, iPAD, iPhone, plenty of friends in the online world and a large monthly broadband bill. Why bother about health insurance or food or a roof over the head? They dont come handy in the online world that I may want to live in.