I never took the time to think about how the common desktop has changed over the past couple of decades. A video “The Evolution of the Desktop” produced by the Harvard Innovation Lab (by Anton Georgiev and Doug Thomsen) shows how office equipment has shifted from the physical to the virtual from 1980 to 2014.
When I watched the video I was reminded by how much clutter and physical tools we had to have on the desktop to get work done. Less has indeed become more in the last 34 years, as far as the office desktop is concerned. The Harvard design team’s video, originally published by Bestreviews.com, shows the “steep shift from cork boards and fax machines to Pinterest and PDFs.”
The Evolution of the Desktop video starts in way pre-Internet 1980, a cork board and calendar are on the wall, a desktop computer at the centre, surrounded by a corded phone, Rolodex, a fax machine, and a calculator. The video then removes the items and replaces them with a corresponding online service which has made these items redundant.
All that is left is a laptop and a pair of sunglasses.
But what is next and did the team at Harvard Innovation Lab go far enough?
The sun glasses are already morphing into Google Glass and the laptop in reality could almost be replaced by the iPhone.
The desk that I sit on typing away at this post is almost an exact view of the final screen in the video. I have no need for paper, calendars, business cards. Its amazing to watch the office be transformed and for our lives to be digitised so quickly. Someone will probably be making an Evolution of the Kitchen or Evolution of the Lounge room pretty soon and I’m sure we will see similar results as the TV’s and appliances become smarter and stream lined.
The only parts that I have not on the video is my favourite coffee mug…I can’t see the digitising of that in the near future.