A Cyborg Nation

-by Stacey Vincent-

Technology has made humanity more usable to humans. As Amber Case states, we are not necessarily becoming emotionless machines with new postures, we just now have the ability to extend ourselves across the planet to anyone, at any place or any time. This seemingly necessary connection that we have to our devices, and thus to everybody else (even people we have not met yet) certainly reinforces the notion that true usability is invisible – humanity is neither too close or too far, but with technology we now have the option of setting proximity. It is the most ideal scenario because as long as you are connected, you are also in control of how much or little people see and know of you, as well as how you are perceived – things like online profiles have given people a second chance at reinventing and aligning themselves with different trends or groups that they would like to be associated with. Nowadays, anybody can Google their own name and chances are they will see something about themselves.

True usability is also measured based on how many other things can be accomplished outside of the primary purpose. Not only has technology given us the choice of how close or far we keep people, but it has also saved humanity from having to remember anything. For instance, if somebody wanted to learn how to be a graphic designer, they do not have to spend thousands of dollars to go to school to learn it because the Internet has become the largest reference point. We have such substantial access to information on anything that the imagination produces (even things we shouldn’t have access to) that the Internet has transformed a society from being very school-dependent into an independent-learning entity.

Although it may be true that the coming of the Blackberry and the iPhone have reversed our social tendencies and face-to-face communicability, but it may also be true that technology has invited humanity to reach its fullest potential. We send communication across any distance quicker now than ever before, we can travel quicker, we can do business more frequently and while we are on the move, and we can learn as much or as little as we please on any topic we can think of without having to get dressed and leave our home. The real question is – was the depletion of old-fashioned, face-to-face communication a good trade-off for endless opportunity?

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  1. Interesting reuse of your classmates’ blog postings and your professor’s lecture notes from the Winter 2012 offering of TWR2011 Usability in Product Design.

    Commentby KerrySurman — September 20, 2012 @ 2:52 am

  2. I really benefited from Amber Case’s discussion on humanity and usability, and it was a really interesting piece for me to write on. Thank-you for always encouraging us to think critically!

    Commentby Stacey Vincent — September 20, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  3. Some interesting comments, but I would like to ask:  If you live in a library, does that automatically make you a genius? Also, consider Brynjolfsson’s concept of the productivity paradox.  The Internet is in its infancy – and only a (mostly wealthy) fraction of the world has access to it.  It will be interesting to see how humans harness this technology, but I wonder if we will see in our lifetime any radical, evolutionary changes to how humans communicate.  Telepathy,perhaps?

    Commentby Nicholl — September 20, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  4. Telepathy would be nice. I do, however, think it will be interesting to see how technology influences the future of of the workforce – telecommuting and remote support is becoming so commonplace, what’s next? Many support desks and businesses have extended their arm’s reach past that of e-mails, request forms, etc and are supporting their clients over Twitter or having a Google+ hang-out. We live in the Gen C, we’re more connected than we’ve ever been before and companies are more concerned with creating impact for the social good. I think that because a substantial chunk of the world leads an ultra-connected life, social change and innovation is more accessible/attainable and is going to hit harder than it ever has.

    Commentby Stacey Vincent — September 20, 2012 @ 7:09 pm

  5. Nicely done Stacey!! :)

    Commentby Guest — September 25, 2012 @ 8:50 pm

  6.  Thank-you! Appreciate the support!

    Commentby Stacey Vincent — September 27, 2012 @ 2:16 pm

  7. Great article, Stacey!

    Commentby Lindsay Lapeer — October 25, 2012 @ 6:49 pm

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