One of my favorite non-writing blogs is Ask A Manager (if you have a day job and need advice it is the #1 through #10 spot to go, it is amazing). There was a post earlier this week about social signaling at work and the difference between “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, you?” “Fine.” in the hall while passing at work and someone seriously asking “How are you?”
Alison (the eponymous manager) said:
When the interaction is a quick one — like when you’re passing someone in the hall or greeting them in the morning — “how are you?” is a social ritual that means “I acknowledge you, fellow human!” The fact that people aren’t looking for long, genuine replies in that situation isn’t inauthentic; it’s that the words mean something different than they might in other contexts.
But the good news, is that we do not have to be bound by current social rituals. So what might a very different social ritual to acknowledge a fellow human look like? What would a world where we never acknowledged the humans in our physical space look like? What will social ritual look like with AR? VR? Or with magic? What if you had telepathy?
I have been talking about and thinking about haptics a lot lately. The whole ..way we feel and touch things and how computers and connected devices can make us feel things. My favorite example that I make everyone try is the iPhone 7’s home “button” it doesn’t move. But it 100% feels like it moves. (And maybe you’re a fancy person who doesn’t have this experience but I totally do.) It seems exactly like I’ve depressed it when I push on it. I has all the effects that you expect. And this is just a tiny tiny little bit of what is possible.
I am enthralled with what the potential future of it may be.
Here are some examples to prime your brain a little.
Yoga Pants that Correct Your Form – Racked
Haptics in clothes seems very likely. A jacket that gives you directions. A pair of pants that make you get up and move. And when you have multiple tools you have opportunities for clothes to give you feedback about you. What is your heart rate? Can your clothes help you calm down?
How Haptic Technology Wearable Devices Move our Life – Wearable Technologies
Haptic Feedback to improve balance – a study you can read on pubmed
Turn anything into a touch sensor…Tech Crunch
So what does the future look like when you wear a turtleneck and all your “speech” is subvocalizations and you “hear” through haptics, could the words be tapped onto your jaw? Do we find a world of silence? Do we get loud? Do we constantly feel like we are buzzing and thumping? We get phantom phone buzzes, will we get phantom haptics? What will we train ourselves to do without realizing it?
I’ve been talking about spam and hacking and the future a lot. I’m obviously not alone. But in addition to the really huge ways the world will change (and it will, health care is in for a giant change in the next decade or so), the world will change in a lot of tiny ways.
Automation is going to become a bigger, more powerful, and hopefully…eventually…more intuitive and user-friendly thing. Things like Amazon’s dash buttons will become more common. APIs, workflow, automation, so many components come together to make our lives simpler.
So…what are the small things we’ll see in the future? The things we do now without thinking about? The things that are tedious and dull that we still do like monsters of an old era that we will eventually automate away? That we will glide past without a second thought? What will a day look like in a way we can’t even guess now? What does the future of amazon dash? other automation tools? Physical automation integrated with digital tools?