Amber Case is a cyborg anthropologist, author and speaker. A few months ago, she spoke at Hubspot's Inbound Conference about Calm Technology. Calm is a term coined by Mark Weiser. The concept is for technology to improve our lives, but to step out of the way.
Amber used electricity as an example of Calm. It exists all around us, but we only really notice it when it isn't working. It's time to think about Calm, since we live in an era of interruptive technology. You probably have received a few annoying notifications since you have been reading this post.
50 Billion devices will be online by 2020.
1. Technology shouldn't require all of our attention, just some of it, and only when necessary. She used a tea kettle as an example of this.
2. Technology should empower the periphery. It should be around us, but not in our faces constantly competing for our attention. I loved her example of the Hue Light Bulb that changes color based on the weather.
3. Technology should amplify the best of technology and the best of humanity. She adds that machines shouldn't act like humans, humans shouldn't act like machines. How many times have you repeated something for Siri to understand in your best robotic voice?
4. Technology can communicate, but it doesn't have to speak. I just added the LumoBack Smart Posture Sensor to my Christmas wish list. It gently vibrates to alert you to sit up. I need this right now.
5. The right amount of technology is the minimum amount to solve the problem. Amber points out a simple toilet occupied sign as an example.
Her presentation hit home to me. you can bet I need to avoid distractions (and to sit up straight). I encourage you to pick up her book, Calm Technology: Designing for Billions of Devices and the Internet of Things.
How are you dealing with countless notifications? What are your thoughts on Calm Technology?