VHS and Betamax

Laser Disc and Mini Disc

Blu-Ray and Netflicks

iPods and Androids

In every breakthrough in technology there are alternate branches or solutions. Those who leap into the new with a brave thrust and adopt new tech early sometimes regret their enthusiasm. After all you might back the wrong horse.

When it comes to a video recorder, or a storage media that decision might simply be a financial mistake, it might mean correcting your investment in one device and switching for another.

But what of cybernetics?

When it comes to putting a port in your skull do you really want to back a solution before it’s been tried out?

When you buy an iPad 1 and then see the next model come out with an in built camera, and the model after that is lighter and thinner … you might feel you grabbed onto the tablet too soon. But at least you got in on the right brand.

What about the Android OS and the multiple devices that have opted into the Google solution? I’m not saying that the various devices and incompatible products that run Android are the wrong choice. But I do feel we can use these elements of choice to practice for the future.

Whether its the kind of interface we jack into, or which leading manufacturer we trust with our augmented prosthetics; making a decision to invest early in something carries risks.

In the cyberpunk settings our characters may be faced with the beginnings of technologies such as cyber implants and cerebral-upgrades. (It may prove to be something we are just around the corner from ourselves.) Taking on a pair of cybernetic arms that improve your reflexes when the technology is cutting edge may cost your character a small fortune, then a few months down the line that tech is obsolete, unsupported or worse still the equivalent to not carrying a smart phone in todays world.

Maybe the setting is a good length of time after this stage of development. And your character is safe in the knowledge that those early teething problems are over. The market is stable and the manufacturers are putting out systems that work in unison (USB ports for all). But imagine if one item of Cyber-Tech was an early adoption mistake. Something you can’t get to mesh well with the rest of your wetware. Does that kind of complication entertain you and add more background color to your character history?

Imagine if one item of Cyber-Tech was an early adoption mistake. Something you can’t get to mesh well with the rest of your wetware. Does that kind of complication entertain you and add more background color to your character history?

Even when the technology has seemingly settled there are still break throughs. Compare the original iPod to the iPod Nano Touch. More features, better interfaces, more robust better for you… technology is always changing. Maybe the next big thing will come along in your character’s life time and they will get to try it out in the first release. Its a risk you might feel willing to take. Your GM offers you the chance to get the new eyePod Ocular Implants, everyone is buzzing about them and you know its a great product from a trusted source. But then just weeks after the surgery you find that the VoidSight product range has richer color range and up to thirty degrees more display, gutted.

Technology can be a ready source of conflict. The age old PC vs Mac debate is a good example of this, with iOS vs Android being another example. But it spans back further than that. Betamax lost out to VHS. I wonder what competed with the invention of fire, no one remembers. Maybe it was a better idea, but lacked the product support.