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  • Writer's pictureAmber Case

FTP045: Amber Case – Calm Technology and Human-Machine Interactions

Amber Case on Building Unintrusive Technology

While many tech futurists argue for humans merging with machines as a utopian vision of the future, Amber has a more critical point of view. She studies the ways in which human-machine interactions can be unproductive, unhealthy, or harmful.

She points out the ways in which the incentives of technology companies like Facebook is to hijack our attention, instead of providing a public utility.

Another side effect of an interconnected world Amber has studied is the notification fatigue.

Being connected to the internet during all waking hours has set unrealistic expectations to be always available. Even more so, we are constantly overwhelmed by the number of notifications, which exhausts our willpower and decreases our focus.

Amber also talks about the ways we are trying to push our interactions with technology to be more human-like – for example, with “natural gestures”. This can often backfire and create less intuitive interactions comparing to unambiguous inputs, like the good old buttons.

The title of Amber’s book is Calm Technology, where she proposes that technology should integrate into our lives seamlessly and run quietly in the background rather than being in-your-face.

Listen to the podcast here (and check out all of the notes here):

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