Instant gratification and slow food ?

Tony Shin has recently created an infographic on instant gratification and changes on the time of feedback and reward in an information society.

I think this gives an interesting perspective on our perception of time, our patience and asks you some reflection.

Some facts from the infographic are:

  • when the replies to Google Searches would be reduced by 4/10ths of a second this would bring down the searches by 8 mil a day from the total 3 bil
  • if your webpage takes more than 4 secs to load 1 in 4 will kill the load
  • 40% of shoppers will abandon the shoppage when it takes longer than 3sec
  • and this is not only visible for information but also for food, half would not return to a restaurant where you would need to wait, 1 in 5 would become rude to the person serving too slow …

So in general I think there are some important problems we will face when looking forward into an ever faster consumption and delivery of information and we need to tackle these points earlier or later:

  1. Ever faster delivery of information leads to impatience of users, but was this like that before? I was in Turin last week and me and my colleague Fred de Vries went to a very nice restaurant, we did not have a reservation before but the waiting in the cue and becoming an appointment for half an hour later was not a sign for the bad quality of the restaurant. In the contrary the full restaurant was the high quality! In the low quality stuff you can get everything everytime, of course in low quality. So you can argue that in the digital age there is an other economy of scale and another relation between the quality of service and the delivery of digital and physical goods. I would be inline with that partly for the level of digital services but I think we tend to forget the human part in information consumption and … learning and making use of delivered information. So I think one should reflect about the quality of human decision making, learning, and we need to define a new quality of human knowledge in an age of instant infromation delivery.
  2. I think it is somehow scaring if humans loose awareness of when they transfer ways of interacting with digital goods onto everyday environments and human-to-human interaction as also their own behavior. I a sense through this human tend to forget about their “unique selling point” in a world where robots alreay win rock-paper-scissors 100%
  3. A certainly related topic is notification and I think one qualitative change in computer systems that has an important impact Technology Enhanced Learning is the ability to use and feedback real time data to humans from ambient and ubiquitous sensor systems. This will definitely leed to an overflow of notification and feedback systems, so shortening the feedback cycles for humans also has a big drawback, i.e. doing that over a longer period of time they loose their tolerance of frustration (btw a basic point of discussion in the education of kids ;-P)

Of course lots of other things to say about this. Thanks Tony for the nice infographic you can find at



Slow food mobile learning

Last week I was participating in a very inspiring workshop at ITC ILO in Turino. With a very interesting group we have been discussing issues around technologies, policies, trends, and questions of mobile learning in a global context. I have learned quite a lot about the use of mobiles in Africa and trends and developments in South Africa.

Jacqueline Batchelor and Adele Botha have been sharing some of their projects and experiences and I think this is very innovative and interesting work and opens a lot of new perspectives also in my perception on mobiles and their potential in an African and world wide context. As I noted earlier in some of my talks often we make the mistake of seeing technology in general too stongly from our cultural context and the development therein. This is perfectly fine as a user as a research in technology development and the use of the technology it is an absolute necessity to reframe ones perspective on the technology and it’s function in a cultural context. This is definitely what you have to and can learn from intercultural research exchange.


Furthermore Turin is a lovely place and one can feel the mood of slow food there this links to another cultural difference and recent reading I have came across. (see next post)