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Nest Founder 'Wakes Up In Cold Sweats' Fearing The Impact Of Mobile Technology (fastcodesign.com) 106

theodp writes: Fast Company's Co.Design reports that Tony Fadell, who founded Nest and was instrumental in the creation of the iPod and iPhone, spoke with a mix of pride and regret about his role in mobile technology's rise to omnipresence. "I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?" Fadell said. "Did we really bring a nuclear bomb with information that can -- like we see with fake news -- blow up people's brains and reprogram them? Or did we bring light to people who never had information, who can now be empowered?"

Faddell added that addiction has been designed into our devices, and it's harming the newest generation. "And I know when I take [technology] away from my kids what happens," Fadell explained. "They literally feel like you're tearing a piece of their person away from them-they get emotional about it, very emotional. They go through withdrawal for two to three days." Products like the iPhone, Fadell believes, are more attuned to the needs of the individual rather than what's best for the family and the larger community. And pointing to YouTube owner Google, Fadell said, "It was like, [let] any kind of content happen on YouTube. Then a lot of the executives started having kids, [and saying], maybe this isn't such a good idea. They have YouTube Kids now."

The article suggests Fadell is describing a world where omnipresent (and distracting) screens are creating "a culture of self-aggrandizement," and he believes this is partly rooted in the origins of the devices. "A lot of the designers and coders who were in their 20s when we were creating these things didn't have kids."
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Nest Founder 'Wakes Up In Cold Sweats' Fearing The Impact Of Mobile Technology

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  • by barrywalker ( 1855110 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @07:36PM (#54771373)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2017 @07:47PM (#54771395)

    If he had not invented the smartphone, someone else would have. It wasn't nearly as original an idea as he thinks. It was written of in popular fiction for decades prior. It was a natural evolution of the technologies that already existed, and its entrance to the market was inevitable.

    Maybe it would have taken a few more years. Big deal. The end result would have been the same.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Current designs are not necessarily the most beneficial and utilitarian. Rather, they are designed to be addictive to promote constant usage with minimal benefit.

      For example, many 'free to play' mobile games are built on a model similar to video lottery machines. Purely designed to prolong play long enough to cause a percentage of users to deposit money.

    • by mikael ( 484 )

      Look at some of the adverts in the old Byte magazines. One floppy disk manufactuer practically predicted 16" tablets with rounded corners and being able to render 3D graphics.

      • "One floppy disk manufactuer practically predicted 16" tablets with rounded corners and being able to render 3D graphics."

        Yep, that's why we all use Verbatim laptops and Dysan tablets today.

    • in his long-lost short story Le Telephon-Photographique

      http://www.theonion.com/articl... [theonion.com]

      "Rudeness becomes ubiquitous, as the device's infuriating notification-chimes invade every corner of public life," McGraw said. "When the ethically bereft begin transmitting images obtained under questionable circumstances, espionage becomes so prevalent as to threaten the integrity of the French populace."

      (or at least the Onion was on to this 13 year ago)

  • "Products like the iPhone, Fadell believes, are more attuned to the needs of the individual rather than what's best for the family and the larger community."

    designed by apple in california, the center of individualism, objectivist USA.

  • none of the above. (Score:5, Informative)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @07:57PM (#54771423) Homepage

    you brought them an overpriced thermostat they dont control.

    https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

    you brought them a piece of electronic garbage that leaves them without heat in the dead of fucking january

    https://tech.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

    and finally...perhaps the most unforgivable sin, you brought them a gadget that sells their personal information to their own utility companies.

    https://yro.slashdot.org/story... [slashdot.org]

  • Maybe ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @08:03PM (#54771435)

    "I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?"

    ... he just has male menopause.

    I think there's a Nest thermostat setting for that, but then Google will use that information for marketing.

  • by SeattleLawGuy ( 4561077 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @08:13PM (#54771471)

    Amazing how negative the responses to this are so far.

    Cut the cord, sometimes. That's a positive thing. And huge for a kid. And it's not a problem with a device, just with becoming too dependent on it.

    I was fortunate as a child to have months where television was unavailable or incredibly limited, and where the video game systems weren't connected or the computer wasn't in the house. The result? A lot of outdoor adventures and a lot of reading. I still enjoy Netflix and video games, but if you want kids to read, make that the dominant available form of entertainment for a while. And find them places to adventure in where they can learn some independence.

    It's like at scout camp. Take the electronics away for a while. Children learn.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Same things were said about movies, radio, TV, comic books, rock music, pinball machines, video games, personal computers, and now cell phones with large screens.

    It's just generational bullshit.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, they were so wrong. Look how we are on an upward trajectory. Yaaay us.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @08:56PM (#54771561)

    "And I know when I take [technology] away from my kids what happens," Fadell explained. "They literally feel like you're tearing a piece of their person away from them-they get emotional about it, very emotional. They go through withdrawal for two to three days." Products like the iPhone, Fadell believes, are more attuned to the needs of the individual rather than what's best for the family and the larger community.

    He must've recently watched The Wrath of Kahn and decided the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

    Keep your kids' phones locked up, Tony!

  • don't worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 )

    "I wake up in cold sweats every so often thinking, what did we bring to the world?" Fadell said. "Did we really bring a nuclear bomb with information that can -- like we see with fake news -- blow up people's brains and reprogram them?

    Don't worry about it, your success was mostly based on various ripoffs (Windows CE, iPod) of work pioneered by others. Heck, even the iPod design didn't survive. In different words, the mobile computing world would look pretty much the same, with or without anything you ever d

    • When he said "we", he did not mean himself and a hamster he keeps in a pocket. Get a clue, he meant the whole tech industry.

      • When he said "we", he did not mean himself and a hamster he keeps in a pocket. Get a clue, he meant the whole tech industry.

        You don't say!

        That's what I was making fun of.

        You really are a bit dense, aren't you?

  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @09:34PM (#54771667)

    Until we find and kill the gnome that keeps turning on YouTube's AUTOPLAY option repeatedly despite cookies and preferences, there is no hope for human kind. Please join with me. It will take our combined effort to defeat it.

    • Until we find and kill the gnome that keeps turning on YouTube's AUTOPLAY option repeatedly despite cookies and preferences, there is no hope for human kind. Please join with me. It will take our combined effort to defeat it.

      No need to actually kill the gnome in order to save humanity - just go behind its back. Install Greasemonkey or its equivalent in your browser, download and activate the appropriate script, and say goodbye to Autoplay.

      What's that you say? You never tried a Google search to find out how to eliminate the bane of your existence? And it doesn't matter anyway, because your browser of choice doesn't support running userscripts? Shame on you, enemy of humanity!

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      This one http://firefox.add0n.com/contr... [add0n.com] seems to work pretty well, keeping youtube pretty well under control. Nothing yet to block piece of shit uploaders with crappy headlines and fake imagines. I really hate those asshats whose videos are nothing but a string of commercials tied togethor and claim to provide information, seriously fuck you YouTube for not allowing blocking of shitty uploaders.

      Don't forget all you suckers who got addicted by YouTube payments, just like a drug dealer, YouTube played th

      • fuck you YouTube for not allowing blocking of shitty uploaders.

        If YouTube were to add such a feature, how would it provide for "shitty uploaders" to be identified? Would the definition depend on a particular user, or would it be service-wide?

        The one thing YouTube does better than, say, your own private MediaGoblin instance is the related videos column at the right side of the video. What's the alternative to YouTube for finding related videos?

  • If young people feel like tech devices are a part of their person, it will be so much easier for them to adapt to direct brain interfaces!

    I don't even know if I'm joking...

  • Make a comparison. The doves {usually left leaning} see great value in lifting everyone up and educating, healing and sheltering all people. The hawks on the other hand feel that if capitalists are unrestrained they will ruin many lives but make the rich better off. They feel that a nation that allows this can raise more wealth, build a much stronger military and capture the wealth of the world. So now we have youth scurrying about with inflated sense of self importance compared to former generations
  • The extended mind (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bug1 ( 96678 )

    You are taking away a piece of them;
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • You are taking away a piece of them; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      From that, I infer that we've made ourselves vastly more susceptible to various kinds of 'brain damage equivalents' such as network and power failures, loss or theft of devices, etc. Actually, that explains A LOT about the state of the modern world...

      • by bug1 ( 96678 )

        It does have profound influences on society, especially when you consider our 'extended mind' can also be a 'shared mind'.
        e.g. the Internet, and thats where all the drama is about 'fake news', and increasing efforts to control our extended mind through censorship, eavesdropping etc.

        Its always been there though, through mainstream media, i think the difference is that as we become more empowered through accessible information we are becoming more aware of it.

        We are still waking up, but once awake our democra

      • by Etcetera ( 14711 )

        ^ Mod parent up.

        Additional dependencies = additional vulnerabilities, connotation partially intended

  • Dude is trying to care about other people, but he's so absorbed in his narcissism that he thinks the danger of being distracted by a cell phone he helped create is somehow equivalent to the danger of nuclear arms.

    I guess his heart is kinda in the right place, but it seems he's completely out of touch with the real dangers that exist in the world. Maybe if he volunteered with Peace Corps or Red Cross or one of the other organizations that helps people who are actually facing real problems beyond "I'm too bu

  • I believe we all still think about the dangers of ubiquitous and unlimited information/communication (or at least have someone dear with that opinion, whom we attempt to understand).

    I always try to tell myself (and others) that the "AFK", physical, "real world" society we live in is no different than phenomenons like TV, mass media or the internet. This applies equally to whatever mean we use to access it, like the www, because in a way or another, it will be biased (notorious examples are Google/Apple on m

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