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Innovation, Design and The Future of Technology
- Read in 15 minutes
- Audio & text available
- Contains 9 key ideas
Enchanted Objects (2014) explains that it’s high time to move away from screen-based devices toward a world of more intuitive, useful and efficient devices, designed for a specific purpose. The author and successful entrepreneur draws on his experiences at MIT Media Lab to explore our technological wants and how we can achieve them through enlightened design.
Key idea 1 of 9
Enchanted objects free society from the tyranny of the screen, sharing information simply and intuitively.
What will technology look like in the future? Perhaps we’ll be served by personal robots, or maybe we’ll all become touch screens!
There’s one idea that could change life as we know it. And it’s already in motion: enchanted objects are the technology that will shape our future.
What is an enchanted object? It’s technology that makes our lives more convenient without distracting us. That’s right, not like a smartphone!
Enchanted objects offer information at a glance, unlike screen-based devices that require your full attention as you read and respond to messages.
Why is the difference between screen-based technology and enchanted objects so crucial? It comes down to neurology. In the human brain, two systems exist in fierce competition with each other.
The first system allows us to make quick decisions, based on impulse and experience. The second system encourages us to make rational, calculated plans. The first system is the “faster” of the two, which explains why people can recognize and process colors, faces and shapes much faster than they can read text.
Much of today’s technology relies heavily on the brain’s second system; we read or navigate blocks of text on phones and computers. As a result, such technology is inherently slower and less intuitive.
Enchanted objects, in contrast, offer the benefits of technology without forcing a user even to think about it. Imagine that you’re waiting at a bus stop. An enchanted object – in the form of a pole at the bus stop – features a glowing countdown clock to tell you how soon your bus will arrive.
Enchanted objects are simple and intuitive, and the way we interact with them is too.
Many enchanted objects make use of natural human gestures. Rather than tapping or swiping a screen, you could give an enchanted object a kick to tell it what to do. Seriously!
The Amazon Trashcan, for instance, uses cameras and sensors to track waste and reorder stock. Want to cancel an order? Just gently kick the can, and you’re done.
Enchanted objects offer society a more natural and effective way to engage with technology. But that’s not all. We’ll learn about the significance of enchanted objects in the next blink.