D A Y # 7

Exploring Asian Culture, Travel & Technology

The Evolution of Interaction
David, 12 Nov 2010

Researching and exploring different sources for this project has widened my eyes to the world of technology. Randomwire’s article ‘The Evolution of Interaction’ comments on contemporary and classic devices, bringing up a very interesting point which had never occurred to me before.

“…technology of the past was defined by physical switches and buttons which each served a single function but today’s devices are mere windows into the software which ties all their component’s together”.

I was completely awestruck by this observation. I found it interesting how modern devices, such as the iPad, are almost like mere ‘containers’ – it is their operating system which is the main key to its functionality. Unlike an old school radio which serves one purpose at the touch of physical buttons and knobs, modern gadgets are somewhat separate to their operating systems (e.g. Android OS, iOs, Microsoft Windows) and can be continually updated to evolve and improve over time.

 “…hardware is no longer what defines an object in much the same way that a person’s body is not what makes us who we are”

Hardware as a vase into which functionality is poured

I have been brought up in a time where technology has advanced incredibly fast yet without a second thought did I really think about how my interaction with these objects were changing dramatically. From the walkman I used to blast tunes from back in 2000, to my iPhone which allows me to play music, call, surf the internet, check my emails… and a whole list of other endless applications. I remember being amazed at the development of the touch screen, yet now it is such a large part of my life that I no longer give it a second thought. I have adapted to these new technologies so swiftly and smoothly that using a mobile without a touch screen feels foreign and uncomfortable.

The future world
will be a place full of these ‘containers’, completely separate from their operating systems. Maybe these gadgets will not simply be computers or mobile phones, but we will have devices for all aspects of life including our wardrobes, kitchen appliances, shopping and monetary systems. Perhaps this will evolve to the extent where we have an endless number of gadgets, each unidentifiable from the next – we will not be able to know what the object’s function is simply by looking at it, but we will know how to use it instinctively.