…does more psychological damage than one would expect. People who spend their lifetime learning to communicate through written and spoken word have encountered another obstacle to deal with.
It could be the vocabulary (txtspeak, l33t, or LOLcat). It could be the software (how do you communicate with a computer?). It could be the hardware (ergonomics, specs, physics, economics). Sometimes it’s the novice in us that’s in the way; most of the time, it’s not.
I had a not-so-brief brush with such a handicap recently. Some of the my laptop’s keys suddenly stopped working. It took me two trips to different computer shops in Gilmore to figure out the problem (a hard drive with two missing screws! scary!). Then, between that and woefully backing up my files I still had to keep in touch with people: colleagues, friends, clients, partners in crime, whatnot. I am sure that if I were a different person, I would have gone on an arbitrary vacation from everything that has to do with typing letters other than qwertupsfhjklzxcvbnm123467890-=. (Other keys like Backspace and the Down arrow didn’t work either.)
No, I killed a few brain cells by using the on-screen keyboard. The worst part was having to converse via YM, where conversation topics shift at the speed of lightning, no, a ping. The moment the other person’s train of thought changes whilst typing mid-sentence is agony, because you’ve already formed a thought for the one-liner that just came in, but you aren’t even done clicking the letters for the previous response.
Because I Can
I was completely bothered by not being able to get things done in the fastest way possible, mostly because I knew I could, but something other than myself got in the way. It’s the same thing with using a crawling internet connection, or a wheezing computer. Khoi Vinh nailed it when he said
you can get good enough to type what you need, but no better, referring to the iPhone keyboard.
Accomplishing the task is doable, but hardly enjoyable when you know you can do so much more efficiently. (Or should working people take advantage of slowdowns? I don’t know.)
But when I visit that other side of the fence, print publishers and the rest of traditional media, who are startled by “hyperspeed”, are forced to ask, do we really need to move that fast?
I personally think it’s a silly question. We go fast—as fast as we possibly can—because we can. Where would humanity be without the desire to reach the stars?
Their handicap could be the unwillingness to embrace how tangible and intangible technology works—fear of the new, the unknown, the uncensored, the all-too-powerful, the free. But that would no longer be a technological handicap. That would be their fault.
(I don’t wish to generalize, but those who condemn the Internet as though it were heresy just because they aren’t comfortable with name-calling and death threats against the person who got away with doing so the first time around, and happen to be the same people who allowed elitist wit to be published, probably deserve to fear the conveniences of hyperspeed. Pity. I don’t really believe newspapers and other old media are going to be replaced by new media, though. A time and place for everything, so they say.)