It’s OK to be skeptical

Apparently the glittering future of the world is all in the hands on that most untouchable saintly techno-god; Steve Jobs. And that’s apparently because from the point of view of those seduced by the glamor of Apple’s iDevices these unquestionably slick pieces of technoporn can do everything. Everything. Anything that they currently can’t do is only because the relevant app hasn’t yet been developed, and anyone who disagrees is either misguided or unimaginative. There is no sense in engaging in any rational or skeptical discussion because that’s not allowed.

Steve Jobs holds an iPad

St. Stephen's Day?

Think that’s provocative? You bet it is! Day after after day there’s a new article on the Internet about how the iDevice is pretty much replacing the need for teachers, therapists, even parents. Got a stammer? There’s an app for that. Got an articulation problem? There’s an app for that, too. Got a learning disability? Guess what? Yes, there’s an app for that!

The gushing encomiums to Apple that litter the net are based on speculation, hearsay, and self-promotion. So where are the evidence-based studies that show the effectivity of the new tablet devices to do whatever it is they are claimed to do? “In short supply” is the right answer at this point. The typical measure of success is “well, it worked for me so it will work for everyone else.” But how do we know it worked? All we have is the word of someone who has a vested interest in succeeding and no before-after to evaluate change.

Don’t believe the hype. There’s no doubt that there is some value in the new world of apps and tablets, but it is dangerous to swallow too many pills without knowing the side effects. And don’t forget, some pills are merely placebos, and sometimes just doing “something” is what causes change.

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