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Devices – Behold the Magnitude of Sound, Picture, Video

Voice first – and voice everywhere.  You may be hearing it – will 50% of all searches soon (2020) be by voice?  Makes you shudder thinking about restaurants and airport gates.  In fact, voice interactions are already all around us. Although estimates vary widely, consider the 18.8 million Amazon Echo and 15.7 million Google Home devices possibly sold.   Or count Siri listening on the 85 million iPhones, or 107 million Android phones all listening if you enable them. Oh, and you use the appropriate wake word for the device (Hey! Okay! Hello! Alexa!).Hopefully you don't hear all devices simultaneously saying "I didn’t understand that" or reading you a long Wikipedia entry just in case.

Gadget-y spam rules the day.  One day in September, Amazon announced six gadgets in a day – a week before Google had its four gadgets moment, and before Apple grabbed all the media attention with the iPhone X (Ten) announcement and the buggy iOS upgrade. That in turn preceded the recent super-compelling announcement of dozens of new emojis -- attach a broccoli? hedgehog? Tears of Joy?  Wow-- ever-briefer messages can skip having any words. And even a new category for the iPhone X called an ‘animoji’ in which the image could be an animated video of you, taken with the front-facing camera on the phone (which also doubles as the phone sign-on mechanism.) Imagine -- a text message for a family member that beats the snapshot of standing in front of a landmark.  Now it can be a video of you walking toward the landmark, walking away from it, with other even-more riveting real-time travel snippets.  The purchase decision for a $1000 phone has become very stressful -- emoji menu or no menu, that is now a question.

Typing is so over – Emojis have their own encyclopedia.   Did you know that there is a website called emojipedia.org or emojitracker?  Seriously, and that Samsung’s Galaxy S8, out in April, came with 2448? But iOS 11’s release, including the 240 new ones worthy of a press release beats it with a total of 2613. And there’s a history of their use, ramping up in 2005.  No surprise, surveyed millennials have been most likely say that these express their thoughts better than words. Although declining literacy may not be too appealing to their employers.

Our devices, our adult selves – what happened to words?  So we are speaking (or shouting) 50% of our queries to our devices, texting selfie animojis and receiving a word or two plus more emojis in return. And to add to our not-so-smart phone use, we are overwhelmed by auto-play videos in Facebook, Twitter, and Google Chrome (though that may change in January). Consider that Instagram’s picture-perfect users are young – but worry about videos -- they now have an option to stop auto-play of videos with a ‘Tap once to stop’ option to prevent public humiliation when they touch the next -- and the next. Imagine those noisy employee meetings at Apple (median age 31), Google (median age 30), and Facebook (median age 28) as staffers hunch over their emoji menus, play videos by accident and spend quality time searching for a charging location.


Some days, it seems like progress is just out of our grasp, doesn't it? :(

“Our devices, our adult selves – what happened to words?” New post by Laurie Orlov will make you happysmiley or maybe sadsad.


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