19 May 2012

Human 1.0 looks to the future (and the past)

         While reading the set text for my study subject, I find a term for which I don’t have a definition.  I go to the index to find an earlier instance of the word where it might be defined.  As I scan my eyes down each page instance of the word listed in the index, I find myself thinking that this find sweep is not very effective.  Then I remember that it is my own brain which is conducting the find.  It’s not very efficient and it’s slow.  I find the definition after about six minutes, but find myself comparing the effectiveness of my human searching of the pages of a book with the find function which I am used to using on my computer screen and coming up second best - and being frustrated by this.  Am I now entering a phase in my life where my need to existentially jack in and upgrade myself will become more and more apparent? Where my version 1.0 of myself is just incredibly out of date and incompatible with the software all around me? Am I suffering from a kind of usability envy of my own digital devices? As there was a secret gestural prehistory of mobile devices, am I now experiencing a prehistorical frustration in anticipation of my human integration with the digital? Am I yearning for cyborg status?

           Perhaps yearning is too strong a word. Will I look back on today and remember with yearning the days when simple word-processing and blogging were the extent of my content creation? Will I see this as a peaceful and uncluttered time, much as I now see the 1970’s as a golden age of being outside in the fresh air, doing one thing at a time, and not recording it or conveying my experience to someone somewhere else until I saw them later in person? Of relying on memory and of not worrying if the details were a bit fuzzy? Of using my hands to draw and write on paper? This nostalgia coupled with future yearning happens on a pinpoint axis of desire, intention and frustration.  Where I am in technological history depends upon what I want to do right now – in the sense of whether I am in the beginning, the middle or near the end of life as I have known it… and whether I judge this to be useful or frustrating.   This then colours how I see myself - am I using a technology, is the technology using me, or am I part of the technology, or am I the technology, and where do we overlap? Or am I on a continuum of use, as well as on an axis of usability? 

One thing I do know, I am running out of caffeine (and this issue probably won't change in the near future...)

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