Crazy Technology Today, Useful Technology Tomorrow?

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Crazy Technology Today, Useful Technology Tomorrow?

We are living in the technological age. Every day we seem to read about some new advance in technology, some of which makes our mouths drop in awe, and some of which just cause us to yawn, some of which make us more productive, and some of which create distractions from the things that matter most in life. Like it or not, we are becoming more dependent on this technology. I realized this when I went to my daughter’s first track meet a couple of years ago. You couldn’t buy physical tickets with cash or a card, you had to buy a virtual ticket on your phone. My father-in-law came to the meet with his trusty flip phone. Needless to say, my wife and I bought his ticket that day. Another example is paying for parking in a big city. Gone are the days when you gave cash to a parking lot attendant as you entered or left the lot. Now you take a picture of a QR code that takes you to a website or app where you put in your license plate number and pay for your parking on your phone. I sometimes see people who are not technologically savvy standing with a confused look in these parking lots or track meet gates trying to figure out how to simply pay. The brutal reality is if they can’t navigate today’s basic technological landscape – they can’t. Did you know that over 27% of the S&P’s return is affected by technology stocks. That’s more than any other sector by far.  Technology affects the way that we live and the way that we work. In today’s episode I want to talk about some headlines that highlight new technologies that are nascent – that is they are young, and you may have never heard of them. Some of these technologies may be transformative – they may change the way we interact we live and interact with one another.

First of all, let’s look at Elon Musk. It’s hard to think of cutting-edge technology without thinking of him. One of his many technology companies is called Neuralink, and they just implanted a chip into a human brain for the first time. According to the Wall-Street Journal, the company is pursuing what they call “telepathy” that is getting signals from the brain to interact with a computer or smartphone. In previous trials, they have actually implanted the chip on monkey brains and posted videos of the monkeys moving the cursor of a mouse and playing the video game “pong.” So in September they asked for a trial participant, preferably with quadriplegia, to sign up to be their first human to receive the chip. Musk tweeted late last night that the patient was “recovering well.” One of the goals of the company appears to be for those suffering from physical limitations to be able to use their brains to interact with the world around them. Now some of you will get excited about the potential of thinking rather than moving limbs to interact with technology. Others will be wondering if this more along the lines the mark of the beast. Time will tell.

Regardless, none of you are probably lining up to have a quarter-sized chip implanted in your skull, so let’s take a look at something much less invasive – Apple’s Vision Pro mixed-reality headset. Now some of you may have put on virtual reality goggles. That’s not what this is. Virtual reality headsets take you into another world – mixed reality headsets add to the world you are already in. I’ve never put one of these on, so I’m relying on a review from Joanna Stearns with the Wall-Street Journal. Once you put the headset on, she calls it a “face-computer”. You see a series of apps on top of whatever you might be looking at. It’s like taking the small icons on your apple watch and super imposing them over your kitchen counter or whatever it is that you might be looking at. Something really unique about this headset, you pinch the air where the app is to use it. You can work on all your normal apps. If you are using google docs for example, you’ll see a giant virtual screen. Pair this with a wireless keyboard or another mac device, and you’re working just like you normally would, but interacting with a much larger screen and even with multiple screens that can surround you. Apparently watching a 3D movie is pretty fun as the headset makes you feel immersed completely in the world of what you are watching. You can record videos that you would normally capture on your phone with the headset, and then watch it in 3D, almost making you feel like you are reliving the memory. It can even help with cooking, giving you step by step visual instructions and allowing you to even drag timers to appear over the oven and on the stove simultaneously. The device costs $3,500 and Apple knows very few people are going to pay that. So although you’re probably not going to use this, you might use a future version that looks more like eyeglasses. Remember that the first cell phones were bag phones that looked more like a briefcase than a phone. We’ve come a long way since then.

Lastly something that we might actually buy is a smart ring. So maybe you like to track your heart rate, your sleep stages, and other biometrics, but you don’t want to wear a watch to sleep. Queue the smart ring. According to the Oura smart ring will track 20 biometric signals for about $300. There are several other brands that have options out there as well that may be less cumbersome than a watch – and I think it’s safe to say much less than a big bulky headset.

Technology gives us the ability to track just about everything. But what are we doing with that information? Are we acting on it? Are we making changes in light of it? You might have a great budgeting app, but is it changing the way that you spend, save and give? You might need some help. You might need some guidance. At MBC and Foundation Bank, we set ourselves apart by providing financial solutions, not just financial products. Looking to grow your business? We can help. Looking to translate what you are seeing on your mobile banking app into action? We can help. Looking to borrow money to buy a $3,500 Apple Vision Pro Headset? Well…we might serve you best by encouraging you to wait on that one. We do all things financial, so start your financial conversation with us today by exploring our website or visiting your local branch. If you’ve found this podcast to be a good use of your time, we hope you’ll subscribe to it in your favorite podcast app and share it on social media. And until our next episode, may the Lord bless you and keep you.

-President Chad P. Wilson, CFP

Today’s episode of “Money Matters” was written and recorded by President Chad P. Wilson of McKenzie Banking Company / Foundation Bank on January 30, 2024. This episode does not constitute financial advice. Please consult a financial professional to discuss your specific needs. Any rates mentioned are subject to change and are accurate as of the recording date. MBC/Foundation Bank is an Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC.