Sunday, August 2, 2009

Almost a Yuppie, Part II

BTW, I didn't mean to imply that there are no more good graphic designers. The Swiss team Büro Destruct springs to mind, and Pete Saville is still truckin'.

OK, so I I've been spouting more than my fair share of sociological theories lately, such as choice is the new poverty, important art movements lead to war, and the armies with the best uniforms usually lose, but I feel the need to add another one to the canon: "Luddites are the new oligarchy."

Think about it, only the privileged few can afford to have someone take and make all their calls and emails, maintain their Twitter and Facebook accounts for them, and tell them what's going on in the world in person, thus insulating them from insult and unpleasantness; obviating the need to watch, read or hear the news; and freeing up their time for other, more meaningful, pastimes.

In ancient times:

Long fingernails and trailing shirtsleeves showed you didn't need to work.

Back in the 1980s:

The "hard times," dust bowl look of jeans torn at the knees was a postmodern, ironic take on the same theme (it's still going strong).


If you don't have a cellphone or a computer, you're either living below the poverty line, old, eccentric, Amish, or a member of some elite or other.

Just as the arcane art of stone carving is all but lost, I propose that conspicuous technology will soon go the way of the dinosaurs. We are living in a transitionary time of absurdly clunky hardware that must be operated with keypads, touch screens and the occasional voice recognition system. Soon, computer and communications hardware will be as fetishized by collectors and hoarded by museums, as carved stone gargoyles and other old artifacts.

What I've always wanted is to be paid directly for my thoughts, without lifting a finger. Wouldn't that be nice? So, why not operate all our equipment this way? If I'm right and that's the way things are going, not only will hardware continue to get smaller and smaller (until it disappears in a puff of mercury vapor), and software more and more intuitive and easy to use, but technology and its trappings will, one day, be completely hidden from view and entirely unnoticed, for the most part.

The technology will still be there but totally in the background or woven invisibly through us and everything around. Implanted, for example, in a tactile object like a well-worn pebble or stick, or carpeted evenly underfoot, like a freshly mown lawn. I can see a time when technology flows around us like thoughts, alighting invisibly on whatever task is at hand or comes to mind.

Either that or a return to the stone age. Same net result: Fewer tweets.

Pebble pic from Rock'n Stone.

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