The end of typing?

We’ve known for some time that the way we communicate on the internet is changing. For decades the dominant communication medium has been text: emails, web pages, chat. Gradually images, video and audio have been gaining ground, and the recent explosion of voice-controlled assistants mean that the primary way many people now interact with online services is not by typing, but by speaking. When my daughter wants to check in with me on a sleepover she starts a video chat on Facebook rather than sending a text.

Until now I’d thought of this as an enriched communication landscape, but the Wall Street Journal speculates that as the next billion internet users come online, using phones rather than laptops with usable keyboards and with low levels of literacy, typing, text itself, will become less and less important. The next billion, it says, will engage online through voice and video. 

It’s a fascinating glimpse of the future: it sounds on the surface like very bad news for books, but if we’ve learned nothing else over the last 20 years or so, it’s that books are more resilient than we thought. 

There’s a free-to-view version of the article here: