It’s easy to get excited about new tech and inventions, especially in the world of work. We hear a lot about revolutions and devices that have changed how we live, and we’ve been discovering some of them. However, as we’re finding out with this article on Propmodo, we can’t cite technological determinism as the source of our development. There’s still more to the future of work and society than automation and streamlining.
Technological determinism, the idea that a society’s culture and organisation is defined by the technological advancements that impact it, has been around for over a hundred years. Often used to wholesale explain major parts of human history, from economics to the way wars are fought, the theory has been widely criticised for its reductionist view of history, failing to treat a highly complex subject with the nuance it deserves.
“Treating a highly complex subject without the nuance it deserves.” That sounds like something that applies to PropTech. In so many cases, from living trends to working styles to the materials we build our structures out of, how often do we hear things like “our platform will revolutionise this corner of the industry” or “this technology will render a certain part of the business obsolete? Adding to that another question: how often do those promises play out? It seems like PropTech, perhaps more than most other industries, has a hype problem.
there’s no lack of fuel for the prediction engine
One of the biggest areas of unfulfilled predictions is the way we work. It makes sense: prognosticating the future of the place that’s tantamount to our second home is something every business and every analyst would love to be able to do. And with the number of disruptive technologies that are applicable to this subject in particular, there’s no lack of fuel for the prediction engine. In an effort to cut through the hype and noise, visitor management software company Envoy recently released a study showing some conclusions from a sample of 1,000 office workers. Matt Harris, Envoy’s Head of Workplace Technology, told us that “Most people spend so much of their days, weeks, and years at work. We wanted to understand how people feel about the spaces they work in, and learn what delights and what frustrates them.”