Everything human made has at some point been technology. Examples of this are asphalt, waffles, language, pencil, science and the kitchen. Lately we’ve had advances in electronic engineering, which is often what people are thinking about when they use the term technology; the PC, mobile phone, the Internet and analytics.
A large part of the influence and reference in the first part of this article is based on the book: What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly. Albeit; these are my personal interpretations. If you are interested in understanding more of technology, I recommend reading this book.
Think about that; everything is in effect technology, but at some point we stop referencing it as technology, why is that?
Let’s start with two definitions of technology (source):
”Technology is everything that doesn’t work” – Danny Hillis
”Technology is anything that was invented after you we’re born.” – Alan Kay
These quotes are wonderful depictions of how something goes from being a technology to becoming something invisible/ubiquitous, a part of our way of life, like the alphabet or a loaf of bread.
So, what happens? What is it that turns technology into everyday things, from something people are trying to understand before use, into something they just use?
As soon as technology becomes a part of our daily routines, habits and ways of expression, as soon as it is no longer a black box, or no longer a barrier between people and what people want. Then technology disappears and becomes regular stuff.
As an example: The faucet; do you think about its mechanics every time you use it? Or email; do you ponder what really happens when you archive an email in a folder on your PC?
What is it that physically happens when technology disappears or changes form into something common? It is usually how it is designed and how it is used.
When technology is born it is usually raw, hard to use, communicates badly, if at all, its benefits. And it tries to impose as an awkward replacement to what we are already using – by demanding a new behavior for the same result. But, what happens is that technology slowly redesigns itself to accommodate use patterns and eventually becomes an extension to our existing – or creates new – habits.
What does this tell us about the future? It means that everything that is technology today will disappear/transform and become invisible/integrated into our everyday life tomorrow. It will become extensions to what we do, which we just use and think little of – and then there will be new things, which will become new technology and create new challenges.
As designers of technology, the people who are supposed to change the world, what is important is:
- To know that we haven’t had technological evolutions and revolutions for a hundred thousand years to end up with wheels on our suitcases and salt on our food. We are in perpetual motion and continuously have to swallow down waves of technology, which we understand little off, just to forget that it even exists.
- Don’t dig to far into the new stuff, because that is how people get stuck and stop seeing how the rest of the world sees it. (Most online ideas created at the end of the nineties is still on par with brilliant ideas today, because fifteen years ago people dared to dream, while as for the last five years most of what we are doing is realism, protectionism and safeguarding existing systems).
- Try to understand the temperature of ordinary people in relation to technology, begin by seeing who they really are, and stop calling them users. We consistently underestimate people and their abilities.
In order to understand technology, we need to stop understanding it and rather look to the habits, and even more interesting the potential habits that it might ignite. The technology itself is the least interesting part of this.
Original Post: http://www.180360720.no/index.php/archive/technology/