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Implicit Technology

The Skill of the Unskilled - By Noga Maivar

When I watched my five-year-old perfectly operating my new Iphone, already succeeding in working it much better than I did on the second day I had it, I was amazed! True, he is very smart, but still he managed to figure it out without using reading skills. Then when my three-year-old was playing with it for the third time, I watched him. I noticed how he was communicating with it directly, learning so easily, intuitively what he could do with it. It looked as if he was communicating with it without words. The funny thing was that this little magic box responded back at him. It was like he was getting to know it, or understanding its inner logic. Watching my boys I suddenly realized that right in front of me, interaction that was primer to logical drawing conclusions was forming. You could feel how he was sensing it with his curiosity, totally following the process to lead him from one step to the other. I could feel his inner carrying forward life force movement guiding him through.

My mother in law, on the other hand, got her smart phone three months ago and still uses only its very basic functions. More than that, she is afraid of it, saying she “doesn't understand its logic." She is nearly 60, an educated modern woman who drives a car and uses a computer. And she is not alone: many people her age find it hard to get used to this kind of technology. How come a five-year-old grasps the inner logic of this technology so quickly, and a 60-year-old is struggling with it for months? The common explanation is that children today are being exposed to technology at early age, when their communication centers are very active and still developing. I'm not sure this is the only reason. I feel that there is more: operating these smart systems does not necessarily require our ability or skills, but a direct contacting, intuitive sense of how human communication works.

We all got used to automatic doors "guessing" our wish to get inside, opening at us when we came toward them. Now, when I am reading my emails at Gmail, Google is searching (for me) subjects that relates to the message I am reading (I mean these ads that are listed at the side in a column). It is trying to "sense" what I might need… of course for doing it, all kind of rules, regulations and calculating are being done, but the system is so intricate, that sometimes it feels almost as if it knows me…

When I drive to a place I don't know I use GPS that "feels" me: it knows where I am, directing me at the perfect time before I need to take the turn, offering me its inner knowing about traffic. I feel it takes care of me…

Technology is becoming more and more living in the sense that both its "language" and its "Intelligence" feel more human. My guess is that my boys and other young children interact with this advanced technology naturally, free of mental blocks, because they are recognizing its "human" qualities. Interacting and then recognizing. That's the reason that it is so easy for them to learn.

My three-year-old naturally believes all objects can have human/living qualities (if a broom can be a horse then imagine what a smart phone can be...) Since he recognizes a similar system to his own – he tries. The phone reacts. He responds. The phone reflects back… it is almost (or maybe it really is…?) as if the machine has that carrying forward movement itself.

Back to my mother in law: She is approaching technology with her belief that machines build on a linear logic of "cause – effect". She uses a few defined actions that comes in a chronological order, each of them takes the process one step further, every step of the way she know exactly where she is, what to expect from the next step, and what would be the outcome. She is thinking how to operate it, instead of directly interacting with it.

Many fantasy movies deal with technology getting control over the human race. I know many people find this horrible. If technology is changing and gaining more human qualities, I find it not to be a threat on society, on the contrary, I believe it is a proof that we are, as a society, developing. It means that we are creatively producing machines that actually expressing our carrying forward quality. I believe that everything we create, including technology, is a reflection of our concepts, beliefs and approaches. My guess is that this new growing recognition to what we know as Gendlin's philosophy's ideas, will continue to be spread, and that soon we will find more of it in many fields. Science, education, management, psychology, leisure culture, all of them are now being affected by the "town" (Gendlin's concept) philosophy. Watching my sons operating this new technology by having this kind of communication with it so freshly, naturally and humanly, it came to me that this is a real revolution! Many of us – focusers, ask ourselves why Focusing is not better known (yet), and wishing its concepts would be espoused out there, in the world. It might just be happening right now…
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