Sunday, November 04, 2007

The need for technology

I've been thinking on how technology, particularly software, has been satisfying the basic human needs and what areas hold potential for further developments.

1. The need for certainty and security - usually involves basic surviving needs (food, shelter, clothes, etc). Since lots of people drive their security from a steady job or income, anything that can help them do their job better would satisfy this need. No wonder that business software has such success. In the same category would also go tools for managing personal finances and finding investment opportunities.

2. The need for uncertainty, adventure, novelty. This area is mostly satisfied by entertainment applications (games, media distribution/consumption) and e-commerce promoting travel and adventure.

3. The need for uniqueness, appreciation and social proof. This can explain the success of services that allow users to create content and claim ownership and enhance status (blogs, media sites, discussion groups).

4. The need for community, belongging and intimacy is covered by participating in social networks, dating services, etc.

5. The need for growth and learning is met by online education and news feeds. This is probably the area that's currently best served by the avalanche of information that can be accessed online. The challenge is how to filter that based on individual interests.

6. The need to contribute and make the world a better place. This could explain the widespread of open-source projects and people contributing their expertise without immediate payoff. The web also helps spread awareness about worthy innitiatives in need of resources.

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