Friday, May 24, 2024
Gadgets

Tech companies, please stop mistreating our retro gadgets


Key Takeaways

  • Big tech showcasing AI creativity by abusing instruments is more distracting than inspiring.
  • Google’s Gemini AI can identify issues with record players, but let’s see demos without destruction.
  • Let’s celebrate human artistry without crushing symbols of achievement as seen at Apple’s Let Loose iPad event.


Just as the zeitgeist had started to move on from Apple’s panned iPad Pro hydraulic press ad, Google came in and attacked something I love deeply. When I saw Rose Yao, Google’s amazing VP of Product Management, take the stage today at Google I/O, I was excited to see she had my own turntable — Audio-Technica LP120X– on a mobile cart in front of her.

Slammed the stylus down on the spinning record so hard the tonearm bounced off the record, flailing through the air as if to ask, ‘Why would you do this to me?’ It was heartbreaking.

Rose Yao Asking Gemini Google IO Event


Was Google about to announce a new audio tool? But then, it happened. She picked up the perfectly balanced tonearm with the AT-VM95E cartridge installed, hovered it over a spinning 12″ LP, and then slammed the stylus down on the spinning record so hard the tonearm bounced off the record, flailing through the air as if to ask, “Why would you do this to me?” It was heartbreaking.


Big tech keeps using “old tech” to make its points

I’m not actually offended, but I find it more distracting than inspiring

Google IO Event Gemini Music AI Sandbox

While I understand and share in the excitement of the potential that a tool like generative AI holds in the creative world, can we perhaps show off that potential without crushing instruments, record players, and easels?


Google spent the better part of two hours showing off how AI can create music, art, photography, and even video. While I understand and share in the excitement of the potential that a tool like generative AI holds in the creative world, can we perhaps show off that potential without crushing instruments, record players, and easels? As a side note, I noticed the turntable crushed in the iPad ad was also the Audio-Technica LP120X, but in the rarer silver version. Audio-Technica, what gives?

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I love my retro gadgets as much as I love my cutting-edge tech. I use my iPad as often as I do my Yamaha Keyboard, and I listen to my records about as often as I use AI in various applications across my businesses. Must I sacrifice one for the other? There was something deep and fatalistic about that perfectly balanced tonearm bouncing around without a groove to glide through, while Yao used Gemini AI to tell her what was wrong with it. You see the tonearm was balanced, but set to zero grams of tracking force, leaving it to bounce around as if in zero gravity.


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Thankfully, and yes impressively enough, Gemini was able to tell Yao exactly what the issue was. It was quick to point out tracking force as one of a few need to know terms when addressing the issue that Yao had created.

For my next trick

The demo I want to see next time

Rose Yao Gemini Answers Google IO Event

An AI assistant that can interpret what you are asking and what it is seeing on video in real time and then provide useful answers almost immediately is an incredibly impressive feat of engineering, but next time let’s see a demo, or ad campaign that refrains from abusing, crushing, or otherwise destroying symbols of human artistry and achievement. Rose Yao, you are absolutely awesome, but if that record player needs a safe and loving home, I’d be happy to facilitate.

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