Saturday, January 29, 2005

Closer to cybernetics

has an article up that details professor Markus Giesler's study of iPods and their users.

Professor Giesler studies consumer behavior, which puts him in league with the spawn of Satan known as marketers, and he certainly discusses his iPod study like some hip young advertiser trying to look cool to tech-savvy twentysomethings. He claims that iPods turn people into "cyborgs" through "technotranscendence".

Of course, much of his claims come direct from experiences submitted by actual iPod users, so I shouldn't be overly critical.

My real beef is that the idea may be a little too early. He calls iPods an extension of the memory because they can hold names and addresses and other information. But if that's all it takes, then anyone carrying a little notebook stands on equal footing. The idea that they provide the soundtrack of a lifetime feels like a stretch as well. Walkmans have been doing this for years.

Here is my idea: I have a portable MP3 player. It has a touch screen that is operated with a stylus plus a few buttons for redundant functionality. The headphones are two small pieces that fit into the ear like earplugs. They are built to be able to accept sounds coming into the ear as well as project music received from the player. What this means is that a user can take the noise around them (a busy street, a conversation) and have it mixed in with a chosen soundtrack. You can adjust the sound of the music as well as the outside sound, so if you want Danzig to overpower your significant other's nagging, just adjust a few sliders.

What I am looking for in the future is technology that enhances life experiences in ways we can rearrange and adjust.

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