Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Can Anyone Suggest an Icon for "Luddite"?

I’ve just watched an ad for the new iPhone. It’s a sneak peek at communication in the future. No deep thoughts will be appropriate; long, complex sentences, full of nuanced meanings, won’t fit. Everything we want to say to others — or even to ourselves — will be abbreviated into short phrases, single words, pictures, or simplistic symbols. And all we’ll have to do is touch a screen. We’ll become technologically sophisticated cavemen, using our fingers to point to what we mean. The bible, of course, will be perfectly adaptable to this illiterate mode of communication:

Urk, urk, urk. Man hang from cross. See glow? Him good. WWJD? I♥ID. TGIF.
Those of us who would rather utilize carefully chosen words to help us construct and convey our rational ideas? IMHO, ROFL all the way to intellectual oblivion.


Anonymous said...

I too have watched the commercials for the new i-Phone and I admit to being impressed, especially since I own some Apple stock. What I saw indicated a full keyboard. So complete sentences could be written if the user was so inclined. But of course this is another tool being marketed to that segment of the population that communicates using "text messaging." This handy money maker for the cell phone companies has swept the youth market because it allows for silent exchanges of information in cryptic conglomerations of letters & symbols. Not only does this facilitate the passing of answers to the more slow witted of one's friends as they take a math test, but gossip about who played stink finger with whom after Friday night's basketball game can be passed on the oh so sly. What was the fodder for paper notes passed across class rooms 40 years ago and easily intercepted by a teacher (or worse yet, another kid who thought you were an asshole) is now zipped through cyberspace thanks to the miracles of modern technology and a parent's willingness to fund a kid's obsession with the latest gadget. And unlike an old paper note it can be easily deleted.

O.K., enough soapbox, back to the i-Phone. I'm not sufficiently enamored with technology to think that I have to have the latest device. The idea of watching a TV show on a cell phone screen, or worse yet, a movie, seems so patently absurd to me that I can't seriously entertain the notion. But I believe there are large numbers of people who will see this device and think that their lives won't be complete without an i-Phone and its user friendly access to the Internet. Will it be as big as the i-Pod ? Who knows ? It is going to make some folks very wealthy. Now, pass the goat cheese.

A Reasonable Atheist said...

One of the things I've noticed about the iPhone's keyboard is that it might encourage writing sentences with full words, because it has this smart autosuggest feature, where if you type part of a word, it tries to guess (based on stuff you've typed before) what word you meant to type, even if you fat finger the word. I'm assuming it uses a dictionary for this purpose. If that's the case maybe it'll be better for text messaging.