A Wave New World
Having read, with great interest, an article in Time magazine about Google Wave and the suggestion that e-mail is e-mail because it was invented 40 years ago and based on what was around then, Snail Mail. An electronic version of something physical.
Google have described Google Wave as what email would look like if email was invented today. It is based on today current computer usage habits and what is technically possible, e.g. increased bandwidth.
Its like the technology has outgrown the medium. We want to communicate faster with richer messages like sending holiday snaps while still sat on the beach. Whereas you can do this over email you wouldn’t consider posting your photos home to all of your friends while on holiday, you would wait to you get home. Therefore instead of sending them via email to everyone individually, you post them on Facebook or Flickr. For the world to see and start a conversation.
However all this lead me to thinking, what would computers look like if they were invented today. Would they include the keyboard and mouse setup that we all know and accept, would touch screens, voice control or just thinking be the main input device. Whereas these are technically possible now peoples habits are very difficult to change and it would be impossible to whip out the traditional physical inputs out from under peoples feet, because that could be just as successful as the paperless office and much to the annoyance of early adopters, the indifference of the majority and the outcries from the laggards at having to retune their freeview box, these things take time to change.