Thursday 18 December 2014

Ten tech terms we could do without

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1) Cyberspace: What does it mean, anyway? It was first used in 1984 by Science fiction author William Gibson, who defined it as "a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts”. He later said described the term as “essentially meaningless”. Let that be an end to it.
2) Artificial intelligence: Applied broadly – for every clever new thing people teach computers to do – it becomes meaningless. Applied strictly – for when computers really can reason like humans - we are still a very long way off (see Jude Law, above).
3) Surf the web: When the internet was new, you could frivolously look around to see what silly things were there. Now that everything is online, what you can do while “surfing” ranges from the very silly to the very serious.
4) Webcam: Increasingly they are built into computers. Besides, the term was ruined for everyone in the UK by David Cameron’s appropriation for Webcameron.
5) Tape (verb): It has been a long time since any tape was involved. But what else do you say? Sky+it, TiVo-it? Answers on an electronic postcard…
6) Hyperlink: Should go the way of the omnibus, a link no longer needs to be hyper
7) Smartphone: As phones all become smart, soon or later we will have to drop the prefix, or think of a new term altogether
8) Set-top box: With the flatness of today’s television, not much can perch on the top
9) Floppy disk: Nobody uses them any more, and they never were floppy
10) Search engine: Nobody does use it in the real world, they use the name of whichever engine happens to be their favourite. If you want some examples, Bing it...

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