A new study by AMD, the chip maker, finds that consumers are intimated by the techno-babble associated with PCs and other high-tech devices. Perhaps the most signficant conclusion is that the PC industry is not getting the full value of their advertising dollars because “only slightly more than half of PC users understand the term ‘megahertz’ — which is used in a vast majority of personal computer advertisements.” Technology Jargon Frightens Joe Public [PC Pro]. This is undoubtedly the biggest surprise of all, because the one thing everyone — expecially the Windows PC crowd — assumed is that buyers know that faster is better. Turns out they don’t know what fast is and can’t even understand the speedometer!!
The larger issue is techno-phobia on a mass scale, epitomized by all those flashing clocks on VCRs. We are raising a society of spoon-fed morons, whose knowledge of everyday devices is steadily declining. What’s the difference between knowing that bleach removes stains from clothing and that MP3 players depend on a certain bitrate to reproduce music with clarity? Maybe TV advertising of the former plays a part, but I think that consumers increasingly are afraid to learn about technology. For those neanderthals who are proud of the absence of technology in their personal lives, well, that’s like putting your head in the sand. Their grandparents probably felt the same wey when refrigerators replaced ice boxes and when electric lighting replaced gaslights.