Shira Ovide sent out an interesting article. Shira writes a technology column for the NY Times. It is not a deeply technical article about software or the newest tech devices, but more a “big picture” view of things technical going on in the world. Her post today looks at what we think we know – that ain’t necessarily so. Some curious factoids:
- Americans spend about two-thirds of their TV time watching conventional television and just 6 percent streaming Netflix.
- Online shopping accounts for less than 14 percent of all the stuff that Americans buy.
- Remote work is a hot topic these days, but only about one in six U.S. employees are working that way.
- About 6 percent of Americans order from the most popular restaurant delivery company in the United States.
If you were surprised by the factoids – that new technology is not as commonplace as we thought – it may be because people and journalist pay attention to the “next bright and shiny object.” But just because they are not as ubiquitous as we thought, it doesn’t mean these things are flash-in-the-pan and will soon fade. They may be harbingers of one future – directly or indirectly – in a positive way or in a disruptive way.
Shira writes: “I’ve written before about how many of our habits and the functioning of pretty much all businesses and cities have been profoundly altered by Amazon and online shopping, which is still a fraction of what we buy. Ditto for Uber and Lyft. The companies account for a small amount of miles driven in the United States, but their vehicles are a significant contributor to traffic and their treatment of couriers has helped prompt a reconsideration of what a job means in the United States and Europe.”
She notes that if just one in 10 Manhattan office workers stopped coming in most of the time that would translate to more than 100,000 people a day not picking up a coffee and bagel on their way to work or a drink afterward. Hard to imagine the economic impact would not be felt… but would it transfer to a suburban location? How much impact would it have on roads and transit system. Shira cleverly calls it the digital butterfly effect, the results of a zillion little changes, unpredictable and uneven.