After Years of Feeling Like a Downer on Tech, I'm Finally Excited Again

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 2 min read

It feels like it's been ages since I was really excited about a new technology category. If you've only(!) followed this blog for the past 5 years, you may think "this guy doesn't like anything," and I don't blame you.

  • Crypto has a shitty culture that thinks it's revolutionary when in fact it's maybe-possible-could-be useful for some things someday, but not today.
  • NFTs sprung from that same world, and if I'm being kind, was the biggest shared hallucination I've seen the tech space experience in my lifetime.
  • Clubhouse had a moment, but it was clearly just podcasts but worse.
  • Apple, my favorite megacorp, has even had a tough go of it despite releasing lots of good products. As they gain more and more power, I've been more and more put off by their vice-like control over the computers we all rely on.

Hell, just a month ago I voiced my skepticism about AI text generators as sources of any sort of reliable truth.

I preface this article with those examples to try and drive home the point that I'm not someone who just jumps head first into every fad in tech. Seriously, search this blog for any of the keywords related to the topics above and you'll see I'm not just attracted to the new and shiny.

New, Shiny, and Useful

AI text generators are the most excited I've been for a new technology category in a long time. And no, I'm not excited about it because I think it's going to "change everything" rapidly, as some people think they will, but because they're creating truly novel products that are actually useful today.

That today bit is important because these aren't products that have potential, but won't actually be useful to people in the future, as was the case with NFTs, for example. ChatGPT is the fastest growing product of all time, and every app you can think of has either already launched a GPT-powered feature, or they have one on their roadmap. Yes, we're in the spaghetti-against-the-wall part of this tech and many of these features won't stick, but some will, and many of them are already useful today. I've written about this at length, but this post is the best place to see what actual tasks I'm completing with these tools.

The Other Stuff

The text generators are most of my excitement now, but I'm also encouraged by the success of Mastodon, as well as the wave of social alternatives cropping up in the past few months. I really hope ActivityPub is a part of whatever solution wins over the masses, but in the meantime I'm very happy to be posting to Mastodon and feeling like I'm a part of my online tech community without all the BS that came from Twitter's feed.

I'm excited about cars going electric across the line in the next decade or two.

I'm bearish on VR headsets, but I'm keeping an open mind about Apple's potential entry into the ring.

The mirrorless camera market feels more competitive than ever, and consumers are winning with shockingly better cameras at better prices.

Phones are kinda boring, but in a good way. It's nearly impossible to buy a bad smartphone these days.

There are of course problems with all of this tech, and there are many open questions about the AI generators in particular, but I'm not a doomsayer on them, and I think they're going to enable humans to do more and be more creative in the future. I think that's amazing.


Anyway, I just wanted to write this loose post because it just hit me how much optimism I'm feeling now, and how good it feels to feel that way after years of grumpiness.