Saturday, 11 March 2017

Two Out of Five Senses Agree

It is an irrefutable, though much neglected, fact of the human condition that touch is a very important source of information. Which is why, as any new parent can attest, infants possess an unfortunate, if adorable, tendency to attempt to eat anything within reach. As society and technology has move along, there has been increasingly less emphasis put on the tangible and an ever increasing focus placed on the visual. More than half of the experience online is visual, much of the remainder occupied, quite comfortably, by the auditory realm. The only time touch comes into the equation is the keystrokes on the keyboard. Smell and taste being excluded all together. This is fine for some of the myriad activities moving to into the digital realm but raises some uncomfortable questions in the case of others. How, for example, does one shop online? Going to a store has almost always been a case of sensory overload. All five information gathering sources queued up to full level. One cannot even buy a single tomato without at least four of them being applied. The only case in which this may not be a problem is in the matter of media, a category into which the internet already falls. It is easy enough to tell if one might like a song or a book or a television show by experiencing a sampling of it via screen and speakers. But how, pray tell, does one accurately assess something in the manner of a musical instrument, an automobile or a new pair of boots, based only on the information supplied by text and sound. Information which, incidentally, can easily be counterfeit. Particularly in the case of ‘customer’ reviews that are, more often than not, penned by or on behalf of the seller of said product or service. Where as one’s real-life experience of a thing, while still fallible, tends to be a lot more honest.

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