Much in our lives is seemingly over engineered.
This is the ‘Velofeet’, a unicycle with stabilisers that the rider sits astride and walks. Yes, a sitting walking device.
I have a new electric toothbrush which throbs to tell me when to move to another part of my mouth and has a light which flashes should I press too hard. There are forks that do something similar if you eat too much, too quickly!
I saw an article the other week about a toilet that is internet enabled, so that you can raise or lower the seat using an app on your phone before you arrive at the bathroom.
There’s a ‘smart mug’ with a sophisticated temperature and light system to tell you whether your drink is still warm or is too hot to drink.
Don’t get me wrong, technology is a remarkable thing. I still marvel at the ‘magic’ that is… my microwave oven.
But this kind of technology led innovation, trumping any consumer led need is a growing phenomenon. Over engineering products, because we can.
It denudes us of our human reflection, thinking, judgement and decision making.
My toothbrush makes me lazy. It stops me thinking. I start to rely on the light and the throb, rather than thinking about what I’m doing. Personally, I’ve had this issue with SatNav for a while. I stop noticing. I become blind to my route, landmarks, orientations, distances. I stop seeing what is around me and instead become a slave to a voice, or a picture, telling me to turn now. The result being I have no learning. I don’t learn how to get somewhere, I just learn to rely on the technology.
This stripping away of the natural use of our senses, diluting our reading of the signs, removing our need to think, taking control of our judgement and decision making, denying us learning, is impacting our interaction with each other too.
Bit by bit we become less human.