Everyday tech myths you can skewer and enjoyWe already have enough worries that are based in reality
Here are several collections of modern tech myths, with a snippet from each one:
… 52 percent of respondents believe that charging a phone overnight somehow harms the battery. That’s not true, and here are several other battery myths debunked. (Another: Don’t freeze your phone to extend battery life!) We also enlighten the 17 percent of people who think you have to run down your smartphone battery completely before you can charge it. Nope.Eric Griffith, “Even in 2019, People Believe Too Many Tech Myths” at PC Mag
Then there’s the one about avoiding all third-party chargers; 5. You shouldn’t use 3rd party chargers on your phone or tablet
This myth suggests that a 3rd party charger might somehow damage your phone or tablet. There are two issues here. First, the charger provided with a phone or tablet might provide more power than a third party charger and therefore charge more rapidly. The second issue is charger quality. Tests of original equipment chargers and those made by reputable manufacturers generally work just fine. Knock-off chargers made by unknown companies have a high failure rate. They are poorly designed and may use low quality components that can fail prematurely or even cause a fire.David Ferrer, edited by Forrest M. Mims III, “25 Popular Technology Myths Debunked” at The Best Schools
Another surviving myth, according to a survey from HighSpeedInternet.com, is “4. Airport X-ray machines can wipe the memory of a phone or laptop”:
The X-rays used in airport security scanners will not erase your device’s hard drive or affect the information on it, the report said. X-rays could damage old rolls of film, but nothing digital. So while 31% of respondents said they believe this information to be true, the report confirms it’s a myth.Macy Bayern, “The 6 biggest tech myths Americans still believe” at TechRepublic
Will a magnet wipe out your computer’s hard drive?:
This technically isn’t wrong — you may remember how easy it was to wipe a floppy disk using a magnet back in the day. But you would need a really, really big magnet to wipe out your computer’s hard drive. Experts told PCMag that hard drives on modern computers would only be susceptible to really strong magnets with really focused magnetic fields — so your average refrigerator magnet wouldn’t do the trick.Lisa Eadicicco, “12 common tech myths you should stop believing today” at Business Insider (June 12, 2019)
Then there’s a perennial favorite: “Myth: AI will steal your job:
“Although AI is likely to make certain jobs obsolete, it is primed to create just as many, if not more jobs. While the loss of certain types of jobs seems scary, it’s important to remember that there have always been certain roles that fall to the wayside with the rise of a new technology. With the steam engine, with the assembly line, with the Internet, many jobs became unnecessary. But these technologies brought with them economic growth and opportunities for new jobs, and people adapted… ” —Akash Ganapathi is the co-founder and CEO of Trill A.I.Joe McKinley, “10 Tech Myths You Need to Stop Believing” at Reader’s Digest
Business studies prof Jay Richards points out that so many of the jobs that automation eliminates are mere drudgery compared to the ones it creates: For example,
“Economic progress is mostly about finding ways to do more with less, to get more output from less input. The purpose of production isn’t to create jobs; it’s to create value in the form of goods or services for customers. Tractors replace oxen, ATMs replace bank tellers, forklifts replace a dozen burly men, trucks replace horses, and backhoes and excavators replace shovels and spades. Why? Because they provide more output with less input.”News, “Maybe the robot will do you a favor and snatch your job” at Mind Matters News
Generally, the people who lost those jobs learned to operate machinery in a cleaner and safer environment, with much better standards of living.
In addition to the tips offered above, each of the linked sites offers several to dozens of other skewerable tech myths we can enjoy and not worry over.
We all need things we can worry less about.
Tech myths are often harmless, except to the finances of believers. But sometimes, widely believed, their failures have long-term implications. Brendan Dixon recently predicted an “AI winter” in some areas, citing that kind of problem. Roughly every decade since the late 1960s has experienced a promising wave of AI that later crashed on real-world problems, leading to collapses in research funding.
Too Big to Fail Safe? If artificial intelligence makes disastrous decisions from very complex calculations that no one oversaw, will we even understand what went wrong?