The Up Side to Obsolescence - Embedded.com

The Up Side to Obsolescence

Spurred on by Ganssle's acerbic comments about the devices that engineers must design, a reader ponders the future.

I am just starting to learn assembly code and playing around with my first embedded systems interface. While I see the frustration that you and others have expressed about hours of work going into an object that immediately becomes obsolete [see Jack Ganssle's Plllttghharhgg], from my perspective there is also a good side. If electronic equipment continually becomes obsolete, it is only an indicator of a society accelerating ever onwards towards newer processes and better technologies. True, we do have the electronic Billy Basses and Remote Controlled Fart Machines to show for it, but without this sort of pace to our software and hardware development, we wouldn't have been able, as a society, to come up with devices such as the Electronic Biopsy machines.

Personally, I look towards space as my future. I hold the idealistic view that through years of study of electronics and low-level programming, I will be able to come up with new and improved space travel devices, making possible colonization of other planets. While this might only be a pipe dream, it heartens me that others, while they may not have this as their goal, are helping me to achieve this through their efforts.

I think that humans, as a species, are facing the dawn of a new form of evolution. Looking behind us, we can see the not too distant past of wood burning stoves and settlements on a fresh frontier. Looking in front of us, who knows what we will see? Personally, I am hoping for a new type of colonization. I am hoping for a mission to be undertaken by the greatest minds of humanity, something that will inspire both young and old and shake our civilizations out of stagnation.

Michael Hinkson

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