wish you were here

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I’ve just read a thoroughly depressing article concerning the future of human communication. Apparently, within three years we’re all going to adopt wristbands that enable us to compose and send emails & texts just by thinking about it. An electromyography armband is currently being developed that intercepts signals travelling from the brain to the muscles in the hand and automatically, intuitively converts it to the message you want to send. CTO of CTRL-Labs, Dr Patrick Kaifosh, explains further “Just as you don’t think about which muscles you use when you speak, so you won’t have to think about how you communicate text to a computer”.

Call me a luddite but do we really need another method of communication that requires little or no thought? Does Tiny Hands Trump really need anything more destructive than Twitter? The only predictable outcome of predictive texting is it’s going to be wrong. At the risk of extolling the virtue of quill & ink, I’d be happy to see exactly the opposite being built and the more contemplative the better.

So, it was with a resigned sadness that I noted Britain’s oldest postcard manufacturer, J Salmon, is closing down. Modern photographic apps have finally done it for the saucy seaside ‘wish you were here’ missive. Sure, you could make a compelling argument that snapchatting the selfie of you at the Statue of Liberty more than does the job and with far less hassle but this represents everything of the sender and nothing of the recipient. It’s all about me. Taking the time to select the right card, individually hand-crafting the message, buying the local stamp and popping it in the post box, even though you’d be home before it would arrive showed we were thinking of family & friends more than ourselves. Ignoring the outdated sexism, yes, of course it was a pain in the proverbial and you’d always try to get someone else to do it but it meant something. Technology may be efficient but it lacks that human touch and I reckon we could all do with a little more of this in everyday life.