By Adam Zoltowski
In a recent Monocle article titled Forecast 2011: The Digital Backlash Begins, author Markus Albers proclaims we are entering a period where people will be abandoning our heavy use of high-tech gadgets.
Sourcing the research of German authors Christoph Koch, Alex Rühle and Frank Schirrmacher, Albers claims that our use of technology is hurting our ability to focus, and is adversely affecting our personal and professional relationships.
He qualifies what he views as an inevitable backlash through examples of cafes, restaurants, and meeting spaces where the use of mobile phones and other tech are forbidden. He also discusses marketing efforts that are attempting to tap into the idea of ‘un-plugging’ used by industry giants such as Volkswagen.
While incredibly interesting, the majority of his references seem to come from mainly his native Germany, with the exception of Koch, and mention no data from the United States or other parts of Europe. The solutions presented by Koch are pretty simple: step away and use technology less by taking “internet sabbaticals”. As strategic technologies, many of the gadgets we use are necessary for work purposes, and keep our already wounded economy humming. This is an opportunity for strategic design to offer solutions that provide reduced dependence on tech, along with detrimental side effects, while maintaining their integral place in our working lives.
How would you use strategic design to influence our use of technology? Do you think a ‘digital backlash’ is as inevitable as Albers claims? Also, what does this mean for our businesses and economies? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.