When our things weren't supposed to think so much, when they were old-school cars, squat rotary phones, and pea-colored refrigerators, they broke down because their bodies broke down. A wire shorted or a fan belt broke. Now when our things have brains bigger than ours, they do what brains do with age: break down slowly. Startup takes longer than it should, programs pop up that we want hidden away, data is corrupted, thoughts ooze slowly through the tangle of pipes.
Then the decision comes. When there is no bright flash before the burst bulb, when there is no flat tire to the thinking machine, when do we throw it away?