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May 30, 2018

A better metaphor for technology

I spend a lot of time thinking about how words work. It’s a big part of my job, after all, but it’s also what I was studying years ago in grad school. And while I don’t want to give you an exegesis (there’s a word for you) on it, I think the collective vocabulary we use to talk about technology is a little limited. We shouldn’t be too judgmental about that, though. In the broad sweep of history, consumer tech as we usually think of it is a very new medium, and it takes time to understand a new medium.

I’m using the word “medium” intentionally here. Words don’t have a one-to-one denotative meaning. When you use a word, you’re not just referring to a single thing; you’re also conjuring up a world of associations. So when I write “medium,”...

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