Slabs of glass

Work has changed from when I started.  When I was at school we didn’t have computers and my first job was the first time I encountered them in any meaningful manner.  They were so called green screens.  Now we stare into screens every day.  Most or at least much of our work is done by interfacing with rectangles of glass.

Our leisure time has changed as well.  We walk along looking at our smartphones.  We stare into small rectangles of glass.  Soon there will be an app we can use that lets us know that we are about to run into someone else staring at their smartphone just ahead of us.  When we get home we switch on our wafer thin televisions to watch one of the thousand channels or use catch up through one of our many devices.  Fifty five inches or sixty inches of flat, black glass.  I remember when a fourteen inch portable black and white was seen as the height of modernity.

Glass, glass, glass, great slabs of glass.  Our whole lives are played out through slabs of glass.

I’d never really thought about it until I read ‘Enchanted Objects’ by David Rose yet now I see them everywhere.  We have screens in schools, in shops, in train stations, in hospitals, in planes.  We have them everywhere.  The whole world is engaged through glass.

This must be a passing phase.  One day this kind of interface will seem as antiquated as punch cards or the mouse.  How long will it be before other ways of receiving information and sending commands will take over?  Using our visual ability only misses out so much of our other senses.  Even voice pays lip service to our hearing capabilities.  Our senses of smell, touch, taste as well as other ‘feelings’ have a huge amount to offer in improving the interface with technology.  Peripheral vision and hearing needs also to be considered.

One day the flat slab of glass will lose its supremacy.  We’ll look back and laugh.

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