On Designing New Technologies

To design novel technologies is a way to advance the functional capacity of the existing technological infrastructure in a user’s everyday life. The contribution of the telephone system, the Internet, and the tools that make it more powerful or easier to use: the cell-phone and the web-browser, for example, is that it changes the infrastructural landscape such that what was previously difficult or impossible became a technological affordance and, eventually, was embedded into the rhythms of everyday life. These tools now exist as infrastructure: taken for granted, appropriated for a variety of tasks, and, often, essential.

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