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Aesthetic Tech

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I’m liking the city more, and what the tech scene has to offer. I liked it before, but I like it now too. People in the flyover states – am I qualified to use this ironically and non-insultingly? I think so; that’s a joke, underlined – sometimes treat tech in SF as being kind of trendily dumb and for hipsters. Yet in general, in tech, the city tries hard to stimulate new ideas, and be a leader, on merit.

What we’re seeing, increasingly, is a fluid move towards information design. We’re evolving, from the fish to the dinosaurs in those old silly panoramas, towards the primacy of the aesthetic experience. It’s moving out of the art galleries and trickling down, in a very real way, from the thought leaders to the trendy but still smart second wave, to the hipster third wave, down into phones and websites. But it’s a real thing, and only going to become more pronounced over time.

Increasingly, people who can afford it will inhabit a world of effortlessly smooth information. All the friction will be thoughtfully, deliberately buffed out. Only the best will be a reality: beautiful experiences for the beautiful people, with all other consumers aspirationally following.

We’re seeing the death knell of proud, dumb ugliness. People get that their devices are sort of asymptotically approaching this point where every interaction enhances or at least aims at supporting the ease, fluidity and pleasure of the Platonic mind. Being ugly on purpose, just spitting in your face as a purchase because smart people can figure it out or whatever, has stopped being cool. And good riddance, too – that led to terrible devices, and experiences.

This new world is better, and brighter. This might come across as Panglossian and naive, as a techie’s buy-in to the mindset of a consumer electronics company. But really, it goes beyond that. It’s the bright birth of a new era in aesthetics, and the proclaiming of its eventual spread everywhere. And that’s really, truly wonderful, moving away from a world that wallows in ugliness and kneels before the desirability of beauty, in its most intuitive forms.

It’s the future, and it’s coming to your phone.

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