On progress

There is an interesting point that has been brought up many times when I speak to friends and people close to me about the tools and services nod-A (the place I intern in) offers. The main point being:

Why use such low-tech tools?! It’s crazy to think that in the times we live in and the role of technology we are so nostalgic that we have to go back!

Is nostalgia the real reason though? I would like to comment on/explore this relationship we have to technology and how tightly it is knit to progress in so many people’s minds.

To me (let’s start there), technology is quite polarized in the tools it has offered when it come to communication. The most common example would be to say:

We can now speak instantaneously to people across the globe and potentially across planets if only we could find someone to answer us. This has led us to live in selective social arenas where we are able to detach ourselves from our physical limitations to reach those we ‘want’ to reach. On the other hand it is often said we have lost in the quality of the exchange.

There are many examples of how technology has stretched the possibilities of our daily lives at a speed we cannot fathom or sometimes notice. A similar example is that of our decision making in the face of death: is it because life support exists that we fundamentally neeeeeeeeed it EVERY SINGLE TIME? How about euthanasia, is this a decision we can make (I think it is, I just really had to make that bit clear)?

Let’s return to the notion of COMMUNICATION, the reason I described technology as polarized was because it is great at connecting people who may not have had that chance before, as said earlier, and it is great at creating clear and appealing digital worlds, but it is lacking in many ways when it comes to REAL-TIME IN PERSON COLLABORATION and OPEN-ENDED EXPLORATION.

nod-A provides incredibly low-tech tools, often facilitated with some aspect of tech, but to be it seems that the world of technology (for ‘the common people,’ I am certain the army may be slightly different) isn’t agile enough yet for the creation, on the go, of new, editable, malleable content.

In that sense I’d still rather brainstorm on a white board.

In that sense there is no true REGRESSION to a nostalgic chalkboard (we already have plenty cheesy skeuomorphic designs for that) only that technology has never reached this point of comparison when it comes to tactility, imperfection (in that case it’s usually because we do not allow for technology to be imperfect as we do paper).

This is why I think we should try to loosen up when it comes to technology and lack of it. Going low tech may sound like a PRETTY HIPSTER-Y thing to do, but it’s mostly because there are undeniably powerful yet almost invisible to the progress-feeding-gouls we have become.

To end on a fair note, I think the hardware needed for such changes to become reality is already there, it’s our softwares and our understanding of ‘efficiency,’ ‘productivity,’ and their relationship to the notion of freedom or at least free will, that need to be humanized.



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