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Smart vs. Useful

It’s way too easy to call your product “smart” as long as nobody asks whether its smartness translates into usefulness. 
smart vs useful

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By Junko Yoshida

What’s at stake:
Companies need to stop applying the shopworn adjective “smart” to every new chip, system, apps or high-tech gadget. Instead of smart for smart’s sake, how about we focus on “useful” for the user’s sake?

New devices are almost inevitably “smart” in the eyes of their inventors, but are the rest of us too dumb to appreciate them? Or maybe the problem is not “us” at all? These are questions the market – investors, partners, developers, system designers, users and consumers – should be asking.  

For too long, the tech industry has been heralding anything new they pump into the market “smart.” What I see too often, however, is  “smartwashing,” using claims of smartness to mask the complexities of implementing the technology and to dismiss challenges that the technology imposes on developers and users.

If smart stuff don’t perform like clockwork all the time, the alibi goes, well, the system designers messed up. Or it was consumers who didn’t read the fine print in the users manual.

This is great stuff. Let’s get started.

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