How An Internet Without Screens Might Look Like

Hey there everyone,
Today I’m sharing another TED Talk: “An Internet without screens might look like this“.

The speaker Tom Uglow starts by saying that «we’re surrounded by natural light and organic elements. Natural things make us happy. And happiness is a great motivator; we strive for happiness. Perhaps that’s why we’re always redesigning everything, in the hopes that our solutions might feel more natural. So let’s start there — with the idea that good design should feel natural.»

He adds that «your phone is not very natural. And you probably think you’re addicted to your phone, but you’re really not. We’re not addicted to devices, we’re addicted to the information that flows through them. I wonder how long you would be happy in your happy place without any information from the outside world. I’m interested in how we access that information, how we experience it. We’re moving from a time of static information, held in books and libraries and bus stops, through a period of digital information, towards a period of fluid information, where your children will expect to be able to access anything, anywhere at any time, from quantum physics to medieval viticulture, from gender theory to tomorrow’s weather, just like switching on a lightbulb».

He continues the talk by telling that «Humans also like simple tools. Your phone is not a very simple tool. A fork is a simple tool…and we don’t like them made of plastic, in the same way I don’t really like my phone very much. It’s not how I want to experience information…I think there are better solutions than a world mediated by screens. I don’t hate screens, but I don’t feel —and I don’t think any of us feel that good about how much time we spend slouched over them.Fortunately, the big tech companies seem to agree. They’re actually heavily invested in touch and speech and gesture, and also in senses — things that can turn dumb objects, like cups, and imbue them with the magic of the Internet, potentially turning this digital cloud into something we might touch and move, because reality is richer than screens».

To summarize, Humans like natural solutions. Humans love information. Humans need simple tools.These principles should underpin how we design for the future, not just for the Internet. You may feel uncomfortable about the age of information that we’re moving into. You may feel challenged, rather than simply excited. Guess what? Me too.

It’s a really extraordinary period of human history.
We are the people that actually build our world, there are no artificial intelligences… yet.
It’s us, designers, architects, artists, engineers. And if we challenge ourselves, I think that actually we can have a happy place filled with the information we love, that feels as natural and as simple as switching on lightbulb. And although it may seem inevitable, that what the public wants is watches and websites and widgets, maybe we could give a bit of thought to cork and light and hacky sacks.

Best regards,
Pedro Calado