Watch / Ending Planned Obsolescence in Tech

Ending Planned Obsolescence in Tech

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Ending Planned Obsolescence in Tech

Duration: 00:19:06

Speaker: Brandon Ramirez

Type: Breakout

Expertise: Beginner

Event: Devcon 5

Date: Oct 2019

The apps we love are built to die. Planned obsolescence, a term most people associate with cheap physical goods, is just as problematic in the software industry, where it hurts users and stifles innovation. It should seem counterintuitive that a product consisting primarily of ones and zeros could have a built-in expiration date, and yet the applications we rely upon shut down or become defunct all the time. Just this year already two applications that our team relied upon and were willing to pay for, shut down, despite having large active user bases. How is it that products and services with almost zero marginal cost of distribution, can shut down amidst the protests of loyal users? In contrast to the manifestations of obsolescence were used to, the flaws here are subtle economic and technological shortcomings, rather than obvious physical defects. In this talk I will explore the history of planned obsolescence, the root causes for it in the information technology sphere, and how a long term shift in how we think about building software is poised to deliver something in the world of bits that we could never imagine in the physical world: permanent products.

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