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  • Writer's pictureQuite Frankly

"Should the Future of Interaction be a Single Finger?"

I don't believe I've resonated so much with an article like "A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design" by Bret Victor. It literally spoke to many of the points I had already been thinking. I value my hands because of what they are able to create, feel, "see" etc. Your hands have a memory and a story to tell with every interaction.

It's interesting to me that the use of our hands in technology and elsewhere for that matter is being reduced. I can only imagine what the future might become if we continue to replace the simple uses of our bodies with technology that limit your senses. I love the example of reading a physical book. I have always been a fan of buying books, just because I like to feel and turn the pages. I know when I'm close to the middle or the end of the book just by the feeling the amount of pages. To some this may not be a big deal but it's really about the experience.

I think about ways to use my hands even when cooking. I would rather chop, cut or dice the ingredients to a dish manually instead of using a food processor because it is about the experience for me and the skill of doing things manually. As Victor mentions, no creation has dexterity like us on earth and that should mean something. We have an ability that no other creature has. He describes our phones, tablets, and various touchscreen devices as "Pictures under Glass" also going on to say that they sacrifice all the tactile My favorite quote is "Be inspired by untapped potential of human capabilities. Don't just extrapolate yesterday's technology and then cram people into it." This means, for me, instead of following the patterns of technology is currently being presented, try exploring a different avenue. Go in a different direction that is in favor of retaining our abilities.

In the lecture, "Uses and Practice", I thought of the way we use tools much differently. It caused me to think about the action of use the tool and what the actual intent is while I'm using it is. Do I care about the actual tool or is it just the task that I would like to have completed? Honestly, it never crossed my mind. It is very true that no care is actually afforded to the tool useless it breaks or malfunctions in some way to where is it unusable. Martin Heidegger further explain by saying "the uselessness of tools always emerges..., as part of a system or totality of objects. Many such totalities work invisibly in the background of our lives to keep things functioning smoothly". Donald Norman's take is also quite interesting. He believes that the user of an item or tool should be able to envision it as useful. So before we even attempting to use it, there must be some obvious characteristic of some sort to tell how it should be used. Affordances, which has mean mentioned numerous times through out the lecture and in Bill Gaver's "Technology Affordances" seemed to be the perceive visual or physical attribute of an item that gives you an idea of what it should be used for. There are such things as false and hidden affordances that I can assume would be quite frustrating to the user. The example of an affordance given was a doorknob. There are many shapes, styles etc. Most of the time based on the look of the doorknob you can decide whether it makes sense to push or pull it.

Dr. Dan Lockton moves to the topic of imaginaries. How do we get imaginaries out of people's heads he says. In my opinion, it seems like the imagination becomes stifled at a certain point especially as you get older. Everything is a lot more literal and it's not always encourage to express your imagination as it can be perceive as child-like. I wish this wasn't the case. I appreciated seeing the different scenarios presented in the lecture and home they were created through multiple mediums. How can we imagine the future? What does it look like? How can we improve our way of living? With these question, thinking about the daily lives of people is important and how technology has already left an impression. What does technology say about human behavior?

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