Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Web Secret #314: High Touch

In 1982, preeminent futurist John Naisbitt coined the phrase "high tech, high touch." The phrase can be defined as "embracing technology that preserves our humanness and rejecting technology that intrudes upon it."

Please observe a moment of silence as you reflect upon the fact that Naisbitt came up with this amazing concept in 1982 before the Internet, the personal computer, the iPod, and the smartphone even existed.

How did he know what author Abha Dawesar discovered when she lost power in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy? She found out that along with a daily search for food and water, a major preoccupation was the search for an outlet where she could charge her electronic devices.

As she observed in a brilliant 2013 TED talk: "I think there's nothing like a crisis to tell you what's really important and what's not, and Sandy made me realize that our devices and their connectivity matter to us right up there with food and shelter."

To me, high tech, high touch has evolved to describe the pairing of high technology with human craft. We crave objects that embody the highest human touch. But we use high tech wired tools like the Internet and social media to find them and easily acquire them.

Take Made in Days. "Made in Days" is two guys who produce very, very small quantities of artfully designed wallets and use a beautiful, state of the art website to display their wares and their craft. I found the company on a blog post about cutting edge web design.

I use every week to discover web sites based on my specified interests, which include cyberculture, web development, futurism and gadgets. Several months ago, up came Kinekt Design, another two person operation that primarily sells just one thing, a patented, completely unique Gear Ring.

Kinekt prides itself on its extremely attentive and personalized service, as well as providing a lifetime guarantee for the ring.

I found Grovemade on Instagram. "Grovemade" is a small cadre of Oregon based Millenials who hand make gorgeous iPhone and iPad accessories out of sustainable bamboo. Check out this gorgeous iPhone dock.

As technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous and powerful, we will look for ways to preserve our humanity.

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