FEATURE31 May 2018

Blending in

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From TVs that look like wall art to voice assistants, technology is growing less visible, yet is still all around us. Katie McQuater explores the future of tech that disappears.

We are living in an age of distraction, with evidence mounting that our constant connection to technology is reframing our behaviours and could be detrimental to our mental health and relationships.

A 2014 experiment by the University of Virginia and Harvard University found that participants would rather give themselves a small electric shock than be alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes, indicating how intrinsic smartphones have become to our daily lives. A paper published by American psychologist Jean Twenge in 2017 suggests a link between teen depression and smartphone use. Even those who helped build the tech behemoths have launched a campaign – the Center for Humane Technology – to call time on Facebook, Google et al’s war for people’s attention.

This awareness of the need to disconnect is driving a lifestyle trend towards minimalism and simplicity. A new book – How To Break Up With Your Phone – urges readers to ditch their smartphones to regain ...