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Do we replace technology too quickly?

Technology has become a new status symbol in today’s modern world.

Instead of saving up for an expensive car or designer labels, people are instead upgrading their smartphones, laptops and tablets.

Brands like Apple and Samsung are constantly updating their devices and releasing new models. If you buy the ‘top of the line’ smartphone, it will be replaced by the next generation device, sometimes in less than 12 months.

While it’s exciting to have the latest and greatest products on the market, this is also creating a mentality where we replace rather than repair devices.

It’s expensive, and more importantly, leads to a huge amount of pollution.

In 2018, global e-waste is projected to hit 50m tonnes. Though it is possible to recycle electronics, many people are in the dark about where or how to do this in their local communities.

Which begs the question – do we replace technology too quickly? Home electronics were once so expensive that throwing them away wasn’t an option – they would need to be repaired and maintained.

Would it be better if we returned to this way of life and emphasised repairing rather than replacing our devices? Do we replace technology too quickly? Share your views in the comments below. 

 

 

 

Do we replace technology too quickly?

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PaulyC
15th Jan 2019
0
Thanks for voting!
I love technology and find this article very interesting. The thing we need to remember is that companies such as Apple or Samsung need to persuade us to update our electronic devices in order for them to make a profit.
Many people, including myself, desire to have these devices and we are now caught in the forever upgrade circle. Afraid I can’t see that it’s going to change unless the manufacturers decide they can make profits better elsewhere.
Alicia
7th Nov 2018
0
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Yes and no, depends if people have the money.
Jean177
30th Oct 2018
0
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Yes we do but it is a modern generation thing : they must have the latest in everything , and a credit card buys it: they just do not know any different . We live in a world of technology now and sadly cannot go backwards .
Wilf
30th Oct 2018
0
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I agree and as I have commented my worry is this trend will just accelerate causing more waste
sparrer
27th Oct 2018
0
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We replace everything too soon, partly due to advertising, partly 'keeping up with the Joneses' and partly because credit is too wsy to come by. I don't buy new mobile phones, my son-in-law gives me his old ones and I give my 'old' ones to the Medic Mobile charity. I bought a £10 kettle and toaster set, they boil water/make toast and have lasted 17 years so far. My sewing machine is 49 years old and sews, hems, embroiders etc. I could buy 'desirable' new items but why waste my money when I have perfectly usable tech/elec already?
Wilf
27th Oct 2018
1
Thanks for voting!
The crazy thing is when our generation was young we did not replace things simply because we had little money and had to mend them or make do. To be honest technology was also simple. Cars were back in the stone age and most products had few and simple electronics.
sparrer
28th Oct 2018
0
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Thank you Wilf for your reply. Another problem is that technology isn't made to last today, washing machines are full of bells and whistles whereas not so long ago (or was it?) we thought we were the bees knees if we had a heat setting. My laptops last approx 4 years and my tablet died after 2. Frustrating but I have learned to accept that I can't save for holidays as I used to, I must save for a new washing machine to wash the clothes I can no longer take on holidays because I need a new washing machine.....!
Incidentally I misread your quote 'cars are back in the stone age' as 'cars are black in the stone age - also true!
Wilf
28th Oct 2018
0
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Thanks Sparrer-yes you are right about cars being black. When I was a youngster cars were multi coloured now they all seem grey, black and white? Nothing is built to last. Maybe its a function of selling us new products. More likely technology is moving so fast. We got a new TV recently after 15 years. What an incredible picture it gives! One reason we all hanker after the latest technology I wonder?
viking
25th Oct 2018
1
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Most manufacturers rely on you not being able to repair.Paticularly the motor industry has made sure that certain units are a sealed system which can not be opened if it fails. This means that a new replacement unit complete has to be fitted.
This means an ongoing source of income for the manufacturer but very bad news for the consumer.
One of the most costly items on the balance sheet of manufacturing companies is the labour. Over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the use of robots which over a perion of time, slashes the cost of labour for the manufacturer.
This now sems to be the way of the world for most of us.
Susan Hayward-Lewis
25th Oct 2018
2
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Sadly, we seem to have become more of a "throw away" society. I do my best to re-use and re-purpose whenever I can. My phone is nearly six years old and I have only just replaced kitchen appliances which were 18 years old and literally falling apart.
Billythequiche
24th Oct 2018
4
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Two things:
We have lost the art of repair
For the younger generation, peer pressure and the power of advertising means that the latest models (especially mobiles) are a ''must have''.
My daughter has persuaded me to change from a Windows to a Mac Air. I am waiting for the new models to be launched and then buy last year's at a reduced price.
Lionel
24th Oct 2018
1
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Billy, once you've got the hang of the Mac Air you won't regret it. Macs are far superior and longer lived than most Windows machines.

You're quite right about power advertising. These corporates are ravishing our society to the extent Consumer debt is at it's highest level ever, far higher than 2008 and the crash.

I don't know if you were a corporate man, if so I'm treading on your toes. But these international outfits constantly updating, constantly advertising with enticements to buy the latest are driving families into poverty. They must be reined in. The durability of consumer goods absolutely must be greatly improved and repairability (at reasonable cost) built in.

As an example ... our kettle needed a new filter at the spout; a simple nylon mesh item held in place by three clips. In this area we have very hard water so if crunchy coffee is offensive a filter is a necessity. I found out this can't be replaced. Must buy a new kettle! The old one was barely two years old and working well. Effectively that little filter cost me £25. Scandalous!
Billythequiche
24th Oct 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
Know what you mean about spares, 3 year old Breville steamer, no longer made, cannot replace racks.
No, was not a corporate. Spent 25 years managing supermarkets then 25 years at a food manufacturer as a planner (Windows). Both crapped on me from a height. When I suggested working an extra year at retirement age, I was told I would have to take a large pay cut, I declined, politely of course. Unfortunately, the first two replacements could not take the stress, the responsibility or the hours. I agreed to stay on for a short time and it cost them more than it would have done originally. The only good thing was the pension.
Lionel
24th Oct 2018
2
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We're stick in the muds where changing tech is concerned. Our Macs are 10 years old, my iPhone 4 is a hand me down and seldom used, our car is 15 years old.

Simply, I'm too tight to spend on updated stuff because it's got a little more glitz, I don't not believe Apple's new TV ad implying I could skate board better in a sunny park with an iPhone how's your father! Arthritic knees and hands ... I'm having trouble walking!

I do think corporates should be required to make consumer goods repairable at reasonable cost. This could be a part of a licence to manufacture or sell consumer products in Great Britain. The fact that we can't get goods repaired or do it ourselves contributes to the waste of resources.

As far as our youngsters are concerned, well I don't know. Step grand daughter had an iPhone 5. She sat on it and cracked the screen. She persuaded someone to provide another and hers was in the bin! Her mother just said, 'well, what do you expect? Her generation are just consumers." Says it all really.
Munsterlander
24th Oct 2018
2
Thanks for voting!
Yes we do but what to do when the next version is coming out? The same is true of everything. "Don't buy 2018 version now get the 2019 version with a brass bell and a new whistle...cars, bikes, phones, TVs the list is endless. Unfortunately the planet is not endless is its resources.
Margaret Hart
23rd Oct 2018
0
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The speed they are trying to replace people with robots and start delivering things by drone is quite frightening as every one of these replaces peoples jobs and the population increases every year. Where is the money going to come from to house, feed and clothe them if nobody has work as all the money will go to those who own the technology.
Margaret Hart
23rd Oct 2018
0
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All the time there are panic talks and complaints that the people of this country have too much much debt and in particular people retire owing far too much. Since mobile phones came oust they have change ged there models and Taken leaps in prices more and more frequently. To many people it seems they can’t efen think of living without the latest model of iPhone or Samsung model which can be over y 1K each when they have possibly one just as good but it doesn’t have that magic new number or letter. Everybody seems to have to better than everybody else. This situation is really pathetic and it’s time people started being satisfied with what they have rather than always borrowing money to get more. If things keep going like this everybody will be in debt.
jacacc1210
23rd Oct 2018
1
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The top brands brainwash us everyday with their persistent advertising from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed. Wherever you look from your TV to the papers, internet, billboards just none stop advertising. They are brainwashing us all into thinking that we can't live without their expensive products especially when the latest version or new model comes out. According to the advertising you can't live without it, you have to make your friends so envious that you have their latest product or model, oh and how it will enhance your life so much more than before. Most of the younger generation could not live without a mobile phone and then ask what did we all do without a mobile phone or the internet. Well, the answer to that is, we all lived a full and happy lives where we communicated on a face to face basis and not by text to a person next to you or in another room. We all used our social skills that we had learnt from our parents, family and teachers at school or clubs. If we don't start to fix things or recycle much more than we do now then our beautiful planet will not have anymore resources to give us or the future generations.
Wilf
23rd Oct 2018
0
Thanks for voting!
Far too quickly and I am a living example of this. I have had to get a new phone as the last ones batteries kept giving up. We had to get another car as our old Discovery had 150,000 miles on the clock and while it could go for another 150k we could not put up with its temperamental starts anymore. Unfortunately we are all contributing to all this mad consumerism and I fear it will keep accelerating until we have a total mindset change and/or we simply run out of resources.
Yodama
23rd Oct 2018
3
Thanks for voting!
Yes it is a mad world, everyone must have the must have latest gadgets, a kind of mass hypnosis I think.
To fix gadgets is quite expensive so they are readily replaced instead.

I am so happy that the younger generation update and replace constantly. I get my son's cast off items, long may they keep coming.
I don't allow technology to dominate my life, much to the annoyance of the techno generation.

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