January 21, 2004
Feel the hate

I don't quite get this technology you hate but can't live without thing.

An annual Massachusetts Institute of Technology survey, known as the Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, found that among adults asked what invention they hate most but can't live without, 30 percent said the cell phone.

Alarm clocks were a close second, with 25 percent, followed by the television with 23 percent and razors with 14 percent. Microwave ovens, computers and answering machines also earned spots as detested technology.

The survey has been conducted for the past eight years to gauge public opinion toward inventions, inventors and technology.

"The interconnectedness you get from the cell phone is a very positive thing, and I think that's one of the most important things, the bringing together of people. The downside of that is that you sometimes want to be alone," said Lemelson Center Director Merton Flemings.

Umm, turn it off? Leave it at home? Am I missing something?

If what you're talking about is being forced by job requirements to carry a cellphone - or pager, or Blackberry, or what have you - then I sympathize. But if you're tired of getting calls from friends and family all the damn time, I'd say the fault lies with you and not your phone.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 21, 2004 to Technology, science, and math | TrackBack

I don't have a cell phone, so I'm taking a shot in the dark here, but I think people named cell phones because they're "double-edged" technologies. For example, you may feel you have to keep your cell phone on in case you get an important call. But there's no way to limit the calls you get to "important" ones, so you end up being annoyed by frivolous calls, and to add insult to injury, you have to pay for them!

I think people might like cell phones better if they could have a 900 number for their cell phone, thus making the caller pay for the call.

Posted by: Mathwiz on January 21, 2004 2:05 PM

Maybe so. I think pretty much all cellphones have caller ID on them, so you can usually tell if the caller is someone you want to talk to. Also, there are a lot more flat-rate plans out there, so paying for annoying incoming calls is becoming less of an issue. I guess the key is to either limit who has your cell number, or ask people not to call your cell unless it's important. I admit that may not make much difference. Of course, if you gain a reputation for never having your cellphone with you, then the problem eventually works itself out. Eccentricity can be its own reward sometimes.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on January 21, 2004 2:11 PM

I'm with you on the cell phone thing. People "hate" them, but give the numbers to everyone and use them all the damn time.

The alarm clock thing, though...I totally get that. I can't live without an alarm clock. Without one, I sleep far too long. But I hate it. I hate it with a deep and abiding passion.

Posted by: Amy on January 21, 2004 4:40 PM

Or get a new job?

Posted by: Another Rice Grad on January 21, 2004 5:36 PM