Technology Changes Nothing.

Granted, the title of this post might have been crafted for clicks. But the matter of it all is simply this: we can always ignore claims that “this will change the way we do (fill in the blank) forever”. We instead need to improve the way we understand the function of technology in communication.

Good communication technology has one job: to facilitate natural communication.

Let’s take Facetime, for example (even though I never use it). Facetime doesn’t “change the way we communicate” — it instead enhances the form we communicate through. Face-to-face communication drive by verbal language is absolutely primal; Facetime simply provides a stage to do that remotely.

A few notes around semiotics

“Well how about the Internet? Didn’t that change everything?” No, it didn’t change everything. The internet simply does a better job of modeling the way we understand information. Let’s rewind to thousands of years before, we see the advent of writing coming to life. We understand things by symbol. We make connections between representation of information and the actual “representee”. This outlines the meaning of the terms “signifier” and “signified” (basic semiotics). When we speak, we do the same thing; we create sounds that have ascribed meaning through audio-based semiotics. We do this also in a complex way with music; there is a reason why Vivaldi’s Spring sounds like the audio version of the images of spring. The Internet is just an iteration of semiotics; links are crafted in order to connect information together. Let’s begin to concept and create from the opposite direction: what methods are natural or highly precedented in our communication endeavors? Let us craft our applications and other artifacts around this, rather than trying to change things that already work well.

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