New Technology Has Failed

One of the FallaciousArguments; where it is claimed that because some new technology has not lived up to the hype of its purveyors (NewTechnologyWillSaveUsAll); it has therefore "failed"--even if it has proven to be useful in some (if not many) applications.

Examples:

Many others, I'm sure.


I think the problem is partly that personal preferences mask any incremental objective benefits. For example, technology X may improve average programming productivity say 5 percent. However, it may hamper some individuals by as much as 30 percent because it goes against their personal preferences or the way they have learned to think. You are not going to convince a LISP fan that XML is the cat's meow, but somebody who used to use roll-your-own data transfer conventions may find it relatively useful. (See XmlIsaPoorCopyOfEssExpressions for more on that HolyWar)

And, the hype rubs people the wrong way such that the backlash will be unforgiving. A RelationalWeenie is going to puke if one suggests that RDBMS should be replaced with XML databases, for example. DrCodd created relational to get away from XML-like structures. This is not to say that XML does not have its uses, but there seems a tendency for pendulums to swing too far. The market-place seems to think that "if some is good, then more is better". True, the "correction" also may go too far. The problem is that nobody seems to learn from past lessons and thus they make the same herd mentality mistakes.

Of course, suggesting that XML is a replacement for an RDBMS is asinine... but for some, the fact that the suggestion is made is used to discredit XML itself. XML is very good at handlign marked-up documents; it is good (though less well-suited IMHO) for expressing arbitrary structured data--especially data which doesn't fit in a relational table. Which is the point of the fallacy; some people have written off the technology completely because of the silly claims by its proponets)

Anything can fit in a relational table. However, sometimes it is not always convenient (with current implementations and/or theory). See MultiParadigmDatabase.


Is there anything really new? Almost every major software paradigm and technique in use today was in use or at least in the labs by the mid-70's. Since the mid-70's, most ideas are simply rehashes of the old ones in slightly different packaging and combinations. Heck, even the same HolyWars can be found back then. PostSeventiesIdeaSlump.


The slightly different packaging and combinations you mention are revolutionary and have changed the way users behave and how they communicate. One might say that the internet and wireless communication are merely different packages of an old idea present when distance communication was via smoke signals. It is not unusual now to see someone walking down the street seemingly talking to themself, when in reality they are talking to someone who might be half-way around the globe. They do this because the old idea of smoke-signals has been replaced by the "magic" of NewTechnology?. -- DonaldNoyes

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (Don't know who said it originally) --killermist
See Also: NoSilverBullet

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