So, I posted the below video on LIM and below that is an example of the kind of discussion you get on the LIM WhatsApp group. You can find out how to join by clicking the link above the main logo.
[14:57, 13/11/2019] : So I listened to the last 5 minutes. For those who didn’t listen, and Shaun please correct me if I’m wrong, my main take away is that many of today’s products tell you what to do and therefore absolve you of your responsibility to do things on your own. He likened it to being governed and controlled as in Orwell’s 1984 combined with HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
[14:59, 13/11/2019] : In a way he’s correct, but I could argue the same thing about almost any technological advance. A car absolves you from having to get about by horse and buggy which in turn absolves you from having to walk a long distance. Are we better or worse off. As often is the case, some of both.
[15:02, 13/11/2019] : I admit that I didn’t listen to the whole thing, but he did go on about the design needing a help app, i.e. the manual, when it should have been obvious. Again, one could say that about almost anything. Even things we take for granted, like driving a car, needs either a manual or some form of training. It’s all very nice when usage is obvious, but that’s not as common as we might hope. And even those things or actions that we think are obvious, are usually taught in some way.
[15:51, 13/11/2019] : Fun topic! I too only caught the last 5 minutes. First tangent: he bookends his main complaint with a smaller one of how he’d prefer a watch to just be a watch – none of this extra functionality with its implication of obsolescence as new functions show up. But that reminds me of that old comment about smartphones – that we had essentially reinvented the pocket watch! So the mere act of telling you what the time is is not as crucial as it was…
[15:53, 13/11/2019] : I remember in college (in the 90s) sort of consciously deciding NOT to wear a watch, in part because I wanted to avoid the regimentation IDGuy talks about. Most classrooms had clocks, or I could ask someone, and just have a more human and organic sense of time (which is why I still think about making clock faces that put the time into fuzzy words not precise numbers)…
[15:55, 13/11/2019] : I think that my avoidance of watches mirrors his avoidance of smartwatches, that watches are kind of more proactive — to use some jargon it’s more of a “push” technology that proactively alerts or commands the user than a “polling” technology that has the user decide to check the device. And that issues of healthy moving and eating are better left to people making their own habits.
[15:56, 13/11/2019] : I’m not sure how many people take the step counting and the diet advice (is that what they do?) and “stand up now” THAT seriously? Like is it mostly aspirational for most people, like a usually short lived regimentation that hopefully modifies their internalized habits?
[15:58, 13/11/2019] : Also the whole thing reminds me a bit of anti-GPS arguments, that we’re all more dependent on devices and less capable with maps. And it will not be good if kids grow up helpless without GPSes, just the way it’s kind of sad many kids don’t read time off of traditional clockface… but on the other hand, I was terrible at navigating w/ my car for the decade of driving before I got my early GPS… I didn’t magically gain capabilities, I just puttered along, and was often stressed.
[15:59, 13/11/2019] : But like with teaching math to kids, the sweet spot is getting people to use technoloiges that augment rather than replace cognition – never skimp on the steps of teaching estimation, even as you still let them use calculator more often
[16:13, 13/11/2019] : I suppose much of it depends on whether you consider technology reminding you versus telling you. For example, there’s an argument that keeping a to do list, whether on paper or in an app, means not depending on your memory and therefore weakens your memory. There’s also whether you consider a notification a kind reminder or a nag. Besides, one can always turn the notifications off.
[16:13, 13/11/2019] : Yeah, like when Greek philosophers sort of railed against writing stuff down, as it weakened the memory- and also you can’t ask a book questions.
[16:15, 13/11/2019] : But the answer isn’t at the other extreme- you shouldn’t forget that “push”-y notifications are not value neutral. A 90s wristwatch would encourage me to be more aware of the time. And of course, with notifications – when I day dreamed about “maybe I can be one of those people who lived with notifications off” I realized that would be rather rude to my girlfriend… or even if I did one of those “white lists” of people who get through– casual folks tend to have an expectation of real time processing
[16:18, 13/11/2019] : As for having a watch just be a watch, then buy a watch, not a smartwatch. Likewise, buy a dumb phone, not a smartphone. And so on. The nice thing is having the choice. Lots of people find using the fitness aspects of smartwatches very useful but that doesn’t mean you’re forced to use them. I think the comparison with 1984 is over the top. We do have a choice. If we choose not to make the choice, another choice, then we only have ourselves to blame. If I don’t like the Apple Watch, for whatever reason, there are lots of other options, including not wearing a watch at all.
[16:20, 13/11/2019] : Well, that’s the choice he made for himself… I missed the comparison in the video, but he’s not clamoring for a ban.
[16:21, 13/11/2019] : Very soon, if not already, you will be able to ask a book questions, at least an ebook. I can already look up words. Depending on the book, I might be able to get more information from other sources. It’s not a big stretch to have some AI built in such that I’d be able to ask a question and the AI would analyze the question and the contents of the book and give you an answer. Handy for when you forget a plot point.
[16:22, 13/11/2019] : Also, people are free to do what they want, but when you think about the one stance of “I’m happier having my actions nudged/initiated by an external program, even if I’m the one who put the nudging into place”, combined with smart speakers and other ways our enviorment might talk to us/command us… it does get a little dystopian feeling 😀