Its the Tamagotchi where the future went wrong?

My Tamagotchi is everything that went wrong with our future

Is one of those articles you read and shake your head realising the hard truth and how right it is…

The Tamagotchi offers the option to turn off the sound. But if I turn it off, I’ll miss the notifications and accidentally kill my hateful son. At this point, I’ve kept him alive for so long, I’d feel too guilty to pull the plug on my virtual spawn.

And anyway, what’s one more beeping annoyance in my life? The Tamagotchi is just another red dot for me to clear off yet another screen. At least this one doesn’t monetize my engagement through targeted advertising.

My smartphone, I’ve realized, is also a Tamagotchi. My laptop is a Tamagotchi. My tablet is a Tamagotchi. These new Tamagotchis have nicer screens and more than three buttons, but more importantly, they’re hooked into much more elaborate guilt trips. Now it‘s not just a virtual pet at stake; it’s my friends, my family, and my work being held hostage in order to keep me pressing these stupid buttons.

My favorite new development in our terrible Tamagotchi future? The “digital well-being” trend to “fix” smartphone “addiction.” More Tamagotchi buttons, so my Tamagotchis can stay alive longer.

Terrifying vision of the future, by looking at the past… no idea why it persisted in its different forms honestly…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

2 thoughts on “Its the Tamagotchi where the future went wrong?”

  1. Ian,

    I remember writing a Unix command for a Sequent machine called “pagercall” that allowed any user to send a pager message directly (it linked a back-wired terminal server into an X25 connection I think).

    It wasn’t long before it got attached to network monitoring software, and the strange game-effect of random network failure and the oddity that was the pager system meant the support guys (who were on call out of hours) being on a strange system-support loop.

    I wish I had realised that the thing that I found deeply ethically worrying was in fact the future!

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