In last week’s UpVote podcast by Wired, there was a very telling story from Raj Samani, Chief Scientist at McAfee/Intel. He was asked about the WannaCry ransomware cyberattack: “I started to get emails in my inbox and my phone started to blow up […] I haven’t really slept since that day. I was on about 400 messages an hour […] I was with my daughter, who’ s 11 years old, and she put her phone next to mine—mine was like a Christmas tree—and she said “Daddy I can’t wait ‘till the day I get 400 messages an hour.” I couldn’t stop laughing, and a said: “I wish I was getting zero like you”. This is becoming the norm now.”
Blow up. Christmas tree. 400 messages an hour. A non-stop audiovisual assault. And an 11 year-old who aspires to being in the midst of it someday.
The language we use when describing what our devices do is exaggerated. But the feeling we get isn’t. Our senses are constantly bombarded, often by unnecessary or repeated messages, leading to distraction and panic.
We need calm technology.