Screen Time Overload - What's Next?
There’s a long list of medical conditions associated with too much screen time: tech neck; insomnia; carpal tunnel; eye strain; headaches and more. Feeling a bit blurry-eyed and achey? You should put this article down right away and do some stretches. If you can resist the “Ding” of your push notifications, that is.
21st century existence is increasingly dominated by screen time, and it’s hurting us in ways we’re only just beginning to understand. Back in the mists of time (the 1970s and 1980s), our parents warned us not to sit too close to the television. Some of those old cathode ray tubes were thought to be radioactive and consumers were advised to put at least six feet between themselves and the screen. These days, we’re rarely squinting more than six inches from the blue electronic glow that causes such havoc with our circadian rhythms. That can’t be good.
How did we get here?
Nothing develops in a straight line. Prototypes don’t automatically morph, iteration by iteration, into the perfect design. There’s a lot of trial and error, one step forward, two steps back. Take human evolution. It’s taken 4 billion years so far, and we’ve still not reached an optimal endpoint. We’re the result of an endless and random series of genetic quirks and mutations, whatever it’s taken for our species to survive, one day at a time. That’s how we’ve ended with so much vestigial nonsense like the appendix and chronic back pain. If you were to design a biped from scratch, you wouldn’t use the vertebrae of a tetrapod. But, hey, that’s how the evolutionary tree shook out and it’s all we have to work with.
Technological evolution is no different. The mobile phone evolved into the smartphone, the portable computational device it is today, thanks to a series of at-the-time convenient technological and socio-economic advances. This is no way to design the ideal device for human/tech interaction. And people are starting to realise, which is why we’ve passed...
The evidence has been clear for over two years. As sales decline and innovation falters, the sun is starting to set on the era of the smartphone. That’s the exponentially increasing rate of technological progression for you: our go-to gadgets exist for a shorter and shorter window of time. It took roughly 100 years for the home telephone to go from clunky prototype to domestic and business essential. The classic 1G-3G mobile phone achieved this in less than 20 years, but in turn was supplanted by the modern smartphone (4G-5G) in under a decade.
Rather than finessing the flaws of existing tech, we need bold innovation. We should abandon what doesn’t work (or causes active harm) and embrace true creativity. We should focus on finding a healthier way for us to receive information. We should also challenge ourselves to find an interface that’s less intrusive, distracting and misery inducing than the smartphone.
The next generation of tech innovation is now needed and not just desired. Technology needs to be updated to accommodate modern life and future-proofed for slick delivery of information and intelligence to enhance our lives. That is the ethos of Zoku and a new wave of tech innovators globally. Watch this space, you'll like whats coming.