In this current era of rapid technological advancement, it has become advantageous to a company's bottom line to ensure that users cannot repair their devices. This occurs in pretty much every technological sector whether that is phones, cars, etc. through warranty voiding, making the device unnecessarily complicated, or making it extremely expensive to repair as special equipment is usually needed. Through a cultural shift towards not wanting the latest tech as well as political action to make the right to repair cemented in law, I can envision a society where technology is developed to last longer, both physically and computationally, and be easy or inexpensive to repair. #UnleashValues
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Exactly!! It's horrible to think that the people designing our 'better technology' are purposefully making them to last just long enough so we're not mad that they broke while also being soon enough to grant us purchasing a replacement. One thing I find quite interesting is the bathtub curve which is the peak of planned obsolescence and often applied to things with warranties (such as cars, phones, smart watches, etc.). Essentially the warranty you get lasts for however long the product is supposed to perform at its peak (or with a few random failures) and then when you hit the period of increased failure rate, that's exactly when the warranty runs out!! If you want to read more about the bathtub curve then here's a helpful link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathtub_curve
Really like this idea of implementing a cultural shift alongside changes in law to make a change!
This is a really interesting take on overconsumption! It's so instilled in us that we don't even realize that this is an issue. Thank you for bringing this to light!
Its crazy to think I cracked my apple watch's screen over the summer and when I took it to Apple, they said they do not repair watches but instead they can replace it for $300. Like what is the point of that? If I did that, then what would happen to my current watch? Just thrown out? It's crazy to think tech companies can do this and get away with it. I've never walked out of the apple store faster in my life.
Hi Tyson, I completely agree with the sentiments expressed in your post. Moreover, I think that in order to push more product and create hype around new generations of electronics, the environment suffers severely. Not only does it create unnecessary waste from consumer culture, but for those that do not wish to contribute to it is made difficult due to the manner in which the technology is manufactured. I wish for a world in which our electronics and novel entities do not impose detrimental effects to the environment.
I like the sound of this society! One example of planned obsolescence that I heard about a while ago and just enrages me is that in the early twentieth century, light bulb manufacturers agreed to standardize the life expectancy of light bulbs from 2500 hours down to 1000. Such a ridiculous waste in the name of profit.
The fact that big corporations like Apple actively lobby against right to repair laws and policies is infuriating. European laws are much more friendly to these aspects compared to Canada/US. Hopefully these policies in North America will change soon.
I, too, dream of a phone, TV, and other electronics with a longer lifespan, that are sustainably manufactured. I wish I was also ready to give up the luxury of a up-to-date device. Unfortunately, when you miss out on new tech, you fall behind in many aspects including education. Not everything can last forever but I wish it lasted a little longer.
The fact that apple products are literally designed to break and/or glitch at the exact moment that the newer model is released is so whack to me?? Like they purposefully make you think that something is wrong with your phone (when in reality its fully planned) and then prime your thoughts with the new phone that "conveniently" just released. Absolutely WILD (does this defeat the android vs. apple battle once and for all??)
I recently had this experience with my phone. When I updated to the newest software, I realized my battery was dying significantly faster. I really do wish in the future technology is developed to be more sustainable and last for everyone!
When I first learned about planned obsolescence, it made me super mad. I think we definitely could use laws that prevent companies from doing this and that also support the right to repair!
I think about this a lot, as I used to work in an antique store...one of the most common comments was about how stuff just "isn't made as well as it used to!", which while being a cliche is absolutely true. There was an era where the advice to give your car a swift kick to get it back going was valid, or the simplicity of the mechanism was understandable by the consumer, allowing them to continue repair and upkeep. In many ways, these are lost skills...
To those who haven't watched, I would recommend Veritasium's video about planned obsolescence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5v8D-alAKE
This reminds me of the time my phone battery was damaged and I couldn't use my phone without it being plugged in. I decided to try and repair it instead of buying a new phone. The process of removing the screen (and risking ruining the entire phone) was a scary one. It contrasted with the phone I had before that one which had a removable back where I could swap the battery out in seconds. With the strive for premium goods, repairability was put at a detriment.
I think you brought up some relevent points and as technology advances, I think this is a very important consideration to take forward!
I absolutely agree with you. The right to repair, and therefore extend the lifespan of products so they don't become waste, should absolutely become more ingrained in our culture. Predatory businesses which make repair exorbitantly expensive to push consumers toward buying new products are absolutely harming the environment, as they force people into abandoning their technology that would otherwise be functional and turn it into garbage which is extremely difficult to recycle.