Will Smart Things Make Us Less Dumb?

We read about Smart Guns revolutionizing the firearms industry. We shop at Smart Toys stores in the shopping mall. We use Smart Phones, wear Smart Watches and Smart Rings, drink Smart Water. We live in Smart Houses, drive Smart Cars on Smart Roads in Smart Cities and we work in Smart Zones.

It's a Smart World, after all.

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Smart Water djwaldow/Flickr hide caption

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Smart Water

Smart Water

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And you've got to admit it's a really Smart Idea to call something a Smart Something. It makes everything else seem Stupid.

Unless, of course, the Smart Thing itself is really a Stupid Thing. Then it's a Stupid Thing to call anything a Smart Thing.

Here are some Smart Things just waiting to be invented:

  • Smarter Marts. Convenience stores that anticipate when you will run out of milk.
  • Smarty Smarties. The candy that knows when you've had too much.
  • Smart ePants. Trousers that press themselves.

Wise folks are weighing in on the new Smart World.

IBM wants to build a Smarter Planet.

Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk predicts in a video clip that our mass march toward the use of smart gadgets is "the biggest culture shift of our time."

Advertising critic Bob Garfield: "I'm just waiting for Smart People technology. There is a huge pent-up demand."

Smart Money, however, is not on the idea that Smarter Things will inevitably lead to Smarter People. Some studies in the past few years suggest that — despite contrary research and the continuing Smartification of Everything — Americans may not be getting smarter.

On the other hand, Boston.com told us recently Why Smart Everything Is Dumb. One problem, apparently, is that not too long after much of the New Smart Stuff makes it to store shelves, it's Old Dumb Stuff.

That. Really. Smarts.

The Protojournalist: A sandbox for reportorial innovation. @NPRtpj

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