You might not be surprised by those figures. I was. They are a sign that we sometimes believe that behavior changes from new technologies are far more common than they actually are. Why? I will offer two possible explanations.
The first is that people (and journalists) pay more attention to the new and novel. This can be especially true if behavioral changes are occurring with relatively affluent people. The vast majority of American workers continued to do their jobs in person even in the depths of the pandemic, but at one point about half of professional workers worked their jobs away from an office because of the coronavirus.
And Peloton, which makes a $2,500 exercise bicycle for streaming fitness classes, has about 2.1 million . Huh customers Paying to use your exercise bicycle or treadmill. For comparison, about 3.5 million homes in the United States had birds as pets during a recent year, according to a veterinary business group. The peloton may be less popular than parakeets, but it garners far more attention.
That doesn’t mean that Peloton doesn’t matter, that remote work isn’t noticeable, or that Netflix isn’t a big deal. Today’s innovations may be tomorrow’s ordinary.
This brings me to the second explanation, that relatively small but rapid changes in individual acts, repeated millions or even billions of times, can disrupt everything around us.
I have written earlier that how many of our habits and functioning of almost all businesses And cities have been profoundly changed by Amazon and online shopping, which is still a fraction of what we buy. Ditto for Uber and Lyft. 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 helped rethink what a job means in the United States and Europe. is.
In an article about New York’s economic recovery from the pandemic, my colleagues jotted down that if only one in 10 Manhattan office workers stopped coming most of the time, that could translate to “more than 100,000 a day.” More people can’t pick up a coffee and bagel to go to work or a drink later.”
You can imagine that sales might hurt for a bar in Times Square—and maybe help one in the suburbs if people replace their after-office drinks with Zoom ones. Even just a little more remote work could profoundly change roads and transit systems that are designed around peak office worker commute times.
digital butterfly Effect A billion small changes can be unpredictable and uneven. People, companies and policy makers have to figure out how to deal with big differences that come from small changes.
tip of the week
Buy these used electronics (and don’t)
Buying used products is often good for our wallet and the planet. Brian X Cheno, consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, recommends which electronics parts and accessories are a common secondhand purchase—and which may not be worth it.
Memory for computer: buy. Also known as random access memory, or RAM, these sticks to improve computer speed will last indefinitely until the previous owner rubbed them with a screwdriver. It’s a good idea to closely inspect any product photos.
Battery: Avoid. In general, I recommend against buying a used battery for any gadget. Batteries are intended for limited use, so it is better to buy them new.
Screen: Avoid sometimes. Screens on electronics wear out and look less bright over time. They are also susceptible to deformities such as “burn in” and dead spots. You can sometimes find a good deal on a used TV with a screen that isn’t too old and has good picture quality, but it’s wise to consider buying one you know and trust.
Add-on Accessories: Buy most of the time. Peripherals like computer mice and keyboards are very reliable. It’s still ideal to test them personally to make sure all buttons and keys work properly. Take a pass at any accessories powered by rechargeable batteries that are not replaceable. And the earbuds are a tough pass. Are you sure you want to wear used earbuds from someone else?
Charging Cable: Buy. As long as the cable isn’t worn out and the connector appears to be in good condition, it’s okay to buy a pre-owned charging cable. Try not to spend more than a few bucks as brand-new charging cables tend to be affordable.