It’s amazing how far technology has taken us as a species. From simple stuff like the wheel to more complex technology like 3D printing, we are the masters of making tools which then make our lives easier. But is more complicated machinery necessarily better? I often find myself thinking about the differences between analog and electronic tech, and whether the newer, flashier devices we have are really better at doing what they do when you compare them to the devices we used to rely upon to perform similar functions. That’s a mouthful, but I’ll break things down here shortly.
Let’s just take a look at clocks to get started, that should make this easier. Analog clocks contain gears which turn according to a timer to move the second, minute and hour hands connected to those gears. The clock is mechanical, or analog. Electronic clocks, like the digital clocks seen on a computer, contain no gears, or any moving parts at all for that matter. Each of these types of clocks has its own advantages and disadvantages – points which make it both a good idea and a bad idea. These advantages and disadvantages are more universal for analog and electronic devices than specific to clocks.
Because the analog clock is mechanical, it doesn’t necessarily need electricity to function. This means that even in a power outage, the clock will still work. However, because it contains so many moving parts, repairs can be costly and take some time to complete. The broken piece or pieces must be located and then replaced, and those spare parts aren’t free or anything. In general, analog devices tend to have greater mass than electronic or digital counterparts, which makes them heavier. They’re typically more durable against wear because they are built to withstand being rattled on occasion.
It’s just not possible to get some things from a digital or analog media which you would normally be able to get from the opposing type. Let’s take grappling dummies for instance. First, if you don’t know what one of those is, you can find out at http://grapplingdummyinsider.com/. Second, it would be a lot harder to physically practice throws, strikes and other moves against a computer program. You kind of need the analog technology, in this case. Likewise, running programs requiring thousands of calculations a minute would be impossible with an abacus, which is essentially an analog calculator.
The fact we still have analog goods around today should be testament enough to their staying power and the fact we continue to rely on technology so long as it continues to be useful to us. Though it will continue to progress forward, some of the best technology from our past is still with us today, simply because it works. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, or that a device couldn’t be made better by making it with a combination of electronic and analog elements. Just remember that certain types of devices are better suited to different purposes than other devices.