Notes on Media


Just another weblog. Lasse Bo Timmermann.

Calm Technology

Ubiquitous Computing is a concept firstly formulated by Mark Weise in 1991. Afterwards is has been used in various contexts and under various names. Pervasive computing, the Internet of things and ambient intelligence are only some of them. Whether the high expections formulated by Weiser and others can ever be reached or if the goals are at all desirable is a question still discussed. Dealing with Weiser and his work itensively during my Bachelor program I have been reminded of one of his ideas in a quite remarkable way. On TV I stumbled upon an ad of the new HTC campaign, which comes under the slogan “quietly brilliant”. As a description of mobile communication devices the slogan shows a striking closeness to Weiser’s notion of calm technology that appears in a paper from 1999. There he describes how technology fades to the background and adapts to the context in order to remain calm and disappear from the focus of attention. The ad itself then nicely plays with the ubiquity of phones in daily live. While the phones sold by HTC are arguably far from Weiser’s vision, the example still indicates a nice way to see the relevance of writings that are almost 20 years old.


Filed under: Future, Media, Nostalgia, Technology, Ubiquitous Computing

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