Technology has extended the playground for so many things – dare I say all things!?
It’s no secret that it has brought uncountable minds and bodies together in various, innovative ways.
But as much as it brings people closer, it is also the cause of disparity – particularly, between generations.
Not dissimilar to the way music both divides and unifies the world, technology is a double-edged sword – which although powerful, can be difficult to wield.
I speak mainly, but not solely, for the older generation. The old school practitioners; the “speak to a human not computers”, pen and paper users. Some have been accused of being stubborn, some just “stuck in their ways”, but honestly, I’m convinced it’s much deeper than that.
While it’s true that some people are just uncomfortable with change – without having a clear understanding of how something operates, gives it a sense of mystery. Quite frankly, they’re afraid of it!
That which appears more obvious and convenient for some, is the complete opposite for others. Everything which once made sense, is now, turned on its head.
The issue is two-fold. A generation that have learned life skills via formation of habit – are having to re-educate themselves by breaking those habits and learning new ways to perform tasks which were once second nature.
As if this is not disconcerting enough, it is made even more elusive by the use of disassociated terminology and iconology, assumed to be clear and informative, tucked away under layers of settings which only feels more and more impenetrable.
Language changes as quickly as technology – words change meaning, slang is used to reach a popular audience. It’s not easy to educate oneself on a subject written in a language that doesn’t make sense.
We are at risk of committing a huge disservice to our older generation … lest we forget the ones that taught us to hold a spoon and feed ourselves, so that we might live to build a machine to do it for us.
The other, less ambiguous factor, is less psychological and more physical. Even as toddlers, fresh to the world, we are highly responsive to any nuances in our proximity; adaptable to change; intuition and instincts are sharp.
As we get older things just, slow down. It’s inevitable.
The average response time for a touch screen is 0.7 seconds – for someone aged over 65 their response time is approximately 1 second. The nerves in the finger also become less sensitive with age, you might recall, seeing older people press much more heavily on screens – combined with shaky hands and multiple fingers resting on screen space, they themselves can feel clumsy and unnatural at something the younger generation seem so adept at.
A combination of these problems is more than enough to leave people feeling excluded from the gift of technology. Frustration and despair seeps in and it’s difficult to discern if older people turn their back on technology, or if technology turns its back on them.
This doesn’t need to be an absolute – Here at Tappable we strive to seek and deliver understanding, we aim to bring empathy and autonomy into what we produce in our applications and devices – not just for the older generation, but for all people of all backgrounds and foregrounds.
Technology has already sought to improve life for so many; with such things as hearing aids, mobility aids, sensors, monitors, medication, communication.
Let us not forget the most important thing – Human connection.