Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"High Tech/High Touch"- Naisbitt Nailed IT Long Ago

The Boston Globe's Maura Welch mentions an unexpectedly earthy item by Nicholas Carr (a former editor of Harvard Business Review, who naturally has also been published all over the place), "about a new study that says Americans are having less sex and spending less time with friends in order to stay online longer. … He predicts a counter-movement is on the way and advises marketers to look for 'the digitivity dropouts,' who make disconnectivity the next big thing."

Commenters in his blog were all over Carr for this scandalous claim; a sample remark was, "I don't buy it. There's too much utility in the Net for people to drop off."

But for me it quickly brought to mind the prescient expression of the famed "futurist" John Naisbitt, who first floated the idea of "high tech/high touch" in his 1982 book, MegaTrends, and found that it gained enough traction over the years to turn into a full volume of its own in '99.

So I couldn't resist dropping a comment on the subject in Carr's far-ranging blog. In the cause of saving myself some keystrokes so I can get outside while it's still nice, I wrote that it reminded me of Naisbitt's phrase, which is proving to be one of those rare examples of a "futurist" who actually got it right.

It's an important reminder that the more wired and gadgetized our world becomes, the more effort we need to make to plant our feet in the physical "real world." (The real Real World, that is, not one of the pretend "reality show" worlds.)

Naisbitt wrote,

“In a High Tech world with an increasing search for balance, High Touch will be the key…"

(He refers to) "a mountain of evidence implicating technology in relentlessly accelerating our lives, and stirring profound yearnings for a more emotionally satisfying existence."
Now, do any of us really require "a mountain of evidence" anymore to prove that being wired 24/7 is simply a very unnerving experience? I think we've all got one of those nervous mountains in our own back yard -- those of us who are lucky enough to have a back yard of our own. (City dwellers, please substitute whichever room your computer and/or "media center" sits in.)

Related, here:
Interface or Face To Face?
Posts referencing the Globe's Business Filter

1 comment:

Maura Welch said...

Great to see a reference to MegaTrends - a great book!