When will we be satisfied with technology?

John Carey makes an interesting observation about the Macbook Pro with Retina Display in Progress:

Photography is a place where philosophy and technology mix with art and its ease of entry has diluted its user base to the point of over saturation. While chemistry and technology have always been a central pillar in this space, I fear it could drag it down even further unless we start to greet some of this forward momentum with at least a whisper of skepticism. I guess the best way to break this down is simply to ask, when will we ever be satisfied? When will sharp be sharp enough, or big be big enough? When do we reach the point within some areas of consumer technology where we are making progress simply for the sake of progress?

Just when I thought maybe we’re starting to come to terms with certain technological advancements and actually enjoy ourselves within our technically enhanced lives I have been quickly reminded that it will never end. I don’t mean to be overly pessimistic but you have got to admit it does feel a big daunting at times does it not? It is a subject I have long explored on these pages and I know I am not alone.

Even though he’s speaking from a photographer’s perspective, it’s easy to relate to John’s point. Yesterday, while the Google I/O keynote was going on, my only emotion was relief. I was relieved that I’m so securely locked up in Apple’s Prisonâ„¢ that I couldn’t care less about all the tweets and live blogs about Google Glass and the Nexus 7. I was relieved that I’m not a reporter for Engadget or The Verge, who have to live and breathe every single new thing that comes out day after day after day. Most of all, I was relieved that it wasn’t another Apple keynote, because those take up all my time and attention since I ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT I’M ABOUT TO MISS OUT ON.

All this to say that I empathize with John’s mixed feelings about the Retina MacBook Pros. I, too, want more from technology while knowing that more isn’t necessarily what we need. What we need are bicycles for the mind, and to do that, we need some time to practice so we can take the training wheels off. Could it be that continuing to invent better bicycles all the time are actually preventing us from riding the damn things?