Technology – The Side Effects of Ubiquity

Published: 15 February 2013

Technology – The Side Effects of Ubiquity

From the beginnings of automation the interaction between man and machine has been led by the desire to enhance and extend beyond the confines of simple ‘human’ performance. The robotic arm is perhaps the most iconic example of this. Be it the Archimedes Screw or a High Performance Computer, technology springboards us to outcomes that simple human labour can not replicate; speed, accuracy, endurance and so forth.

Throughout the innovation cycle anthropomorphism is commonplace – it makes technology more consumable. This journey continues with the adoption of skeuomorphs; simply making the newly manufactured world more appealing or consumable by representing what has gone before in a different form. Digital skeuomorphs are all around you; open your tablet pc, use the note pad, write on the screen with a stylus… the experience looks and feels like pen and pad.

All of the above focuses upon us shaping technology, taking advantage of its malleability, and as is proper, fitting it to our needs and appetites. Unquestionably we hold the reins, but as our addiction to technology has grown over the centuries, so our behaviours and routine actions change. 

A recent study carried out by PSFK titled ‘Curious Rituals’ identified a range of physical gestures that have been spawned by the mass adoption of digital devices into our daily routine . The following Bit Rebels article has plucked out a dozen of the best Human Hand & Body Gestures Invented by Technology from that study. Within the article is a link to a more detailed download – it’s worth a read. You can’t fail to identify with these – so it makes you begin to wonder who’s calling the shots - are you really in as much control as you thought you were?

Matt Cockbill is a Partner and Head of Technology & EMI Practices for Berwick Partners.  

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