Interactions in the Time Space Continuum

In a meeting this week someone pointed out that the younger generation doesn’t wear wristwatches. Sure enough, we looked around the room and it generally held true. (FYI, I was one of the people wearing a watch…). The point being made was that in the digital age people are tethered to their devices and therefore don’t need a separate timekeeper on their wrist. Or a camera or walkman, either. Or, apparently, maps, address and appointment books, weather forecasts, televisions, and–coming soon–bar codes, passports and retinal scans. Maybe birth certificates?

Anyway. We all know this has revolutionized the music industry. But The Technium suspects there may be something deeper going on:

…Another friend had a barely-speaking toddler take over his iPad. She could paint and handle complicated tasks on apps with ease and grace almost before she could walk. It is now sort of her iPad. One day he printed out a high resolution image on photo paper and left it on the coffee table. He noticed his toddler come up to up and try to unpinch the photo to make it larger, like you do on an iPad. She tried it a few times, without success, and looked over to him and said “broken.”

Another acquaintance told me this story. He has a son about 8 years old. They were talking about the old days, and the fact that when my friend was growing up they did not have computers. This fact was perplexing news to his son. His son asks, “But how did you get onto the internet before computers?”

I take two lessons from the mouth of babes: if something is not interactive, with mouse or gestures, it is broken. And, the internet is not about computers or devices; it is something mythic, something much larger; it is about humanity.

Weekend update: from comments by friends and family, it seems this is a thing. I didn’t know it was a thing.