I picked up a phrase some time ago that I think applies: “The next big thing is always beneath contempt.” Implication being that it is, of course, until it isn’t. Until it’s too big to ignore. This has happened over and over again in our society. In the middle ages, people assumed that no serious discussion could happen in anything but Latin — the so-called “vulgar” languages had no merit. And writers assumed that nothing interesting or lasting would come from this new medium of television. And, I think, people assume right now that nothing important will be created from a 10” touch screen without a keyboard (let alone a tiny 3.5” screen).
But I think that we already know that that’s a mistaken view of history, and of the future. That humans always find a way to create, and to make. Phones and tablets are right in the midst of becoming devices of incredible creation, and they’re going to let us create things on the go, in real time, that we never imagined.
One of the most baffling aspects of human nature is the tendency to question the perpetual tide of innovative change.
Basing perspectives within some sort of conservative and fearful construct, individuals frequently and fearfully disregard impending change. Rather than dialectically seeking to improve experiences, people all-too-frequently align themselves with the familiar, and actively look to prevent losing this environment.
In a technological sense, with each major operating system version, hardware iteration, and software update, the Internet is veritably flooded with people quickly scrambling to duplicate outdated functionality, to rollback to their prior environment, or expressing vehement outrage over the compulsory UI changes instituted by their favorite web application.
Without due cause, people are all-too-keen to shortsightedly judge the significance of the ebb and flow of innovation. Sadly, without taking part in this constructive conversation, true improvement cannot be attained. Excluding oneself from the changing environment is ultimately akin to abstaining from voting, or from contributing your voice in an important discussion.
Innovation and change occur irrespective of pre-existing circumstance and context. Judging a device, service, or piece of technology based solely upon such pre-existing circumstances renders opinions and attitudes utterly out-of-step with the remainder of the world.
Whilst Mr. Lilly’s argument is aimed at the misguided notion that touch-centric mobile computing is inherently subordinate to traditional desktops with hardware keyboards, his perspective holds true for virtually any aspect of the changing world, and I sincerely applaud him for writing about it in such a fashion.