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玩手机玩到没朋友?或许降级手机有得救

更新时间:2018-9-11 21:22:35 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The new phones that are stuck in the past
玩手机玩到没朋友?或许降级手机有得救

It was back in 2008 when Norwegian entrepreneur Petter Neby and his stepdaughter first realised they had a problem. Their cell phones were getting in the way of their relationship. They stared at their screens during dinner, before bed and lounging around home.

那是在2008年,挪威企业家奈比(Petter Neby)和他的继女第一次意识到手机妨碍了父女关系。吃饭看手机,睡前看手机,在家里无聊还是看手机。

It was an addiction they couldn’t break, almost like eating chocolate, Neby thought. Eventually, he knew he needed to reconnect to his stepdaughter without the filter of technology.

奈比觉得,那就是一种无法戒掉的瘾,跟吃巧克力差不多。最后,他意识到,自己得在没有技术横亘其间的情况下重建父女关系。

“How can I put the delicious chocolate in the refrigerator?” he said. “If it’s out, I will eat it all.”

“我为什么要把美味的巧克力放进冰箱?”他说,“如果放在外面,我能把它全吃了。”

After several years of tinkering, Neby invented the solution to his mobile obsession: another cell phone. But unlike his Blackberry, this one was specifically designed to promote healthy behaviour by being used as little as possible. With this idea in mind, Neby’s company Punkt was born.

经过几年的摸索,奈比发明了一个东西来解决自己的手机瘾:另一个手机。与他的黑莓手机不同,这款手机的设计初衷是通过尽量减少使用来令行为更加健康。带着这个想法,奈比创办了Punkt公司。

It now stands as one of several start-ups aimed at tempering advanced technologies with a return to good old-fashioned humanity, providing an escape route from the anxiety and addiction of smartphones. Because these secondary devices do little more than make calls, owners say they have rediscovered the freedom they had before their iPhones were surgically attached to their palms.

现在,作为其中一家试图在先进科技面前保持冷静、回归传统优秀人性初创企业,奈比的公司为摆脱智能手机带来的焦虑和成瘾提供了一种途径。由于这些辅助型手机除了打电话之外几乎什么都做不了,许多用户表示,他们已经重新发现了苹果手机不离手之前的时代所拥有的自由。

Researchers are split on the supposed benefits, and whether the phones truly have the power to change deeply rooted behaviours and cognitive processes for the better. While they separate the facts from the fiction, a niche group of supporters feel that they’ve found tech salvation.

研究人员对这些手机所谓的好处存在分歧,他们也没有一致认同这些手机能否真正改变根深蒂固的行为和认知过程。这个小众产品的支持者认为,他们找到了科技救星,同时他们也对事实和虚构作出区分。

It all begins with the design. The Light Phone, created in 2015 by Joe Hollier and Kaiwei Tang in New York, is reminiscent of the ominous monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The smooth rectangular slab has no external keys, camera, apps or screen. Instead, light is projected through a translucent panel to simulate a dial pad. All it can do is make and receive calls, and store nine speed-dial contacts.

一切都始于设计。2015年,纽约的霍利尔(Joe Hollier)和恺威·唐(Kaiwei Tang)发明了Light Phone,它让人想起《2001太空漫游》(2001: A Space Odyssey)里那种不祥的庞然大物。光滑的长方形平板没有外部按键、摄像头、应用程序或屏幕。而是让光穿过半透明的面板,模拟出一个拨号键盘。它只能用来打电话和接听电话,并存储9个快速拨号联系人。

Neby’s MP-01 is a bit more complex, featuring 3D buttons and the ability to text, set alarms, connect via Bluetooth and check a calendar. The black-and-white, 2-inch (5cm) screen displays only a couple lines of text at a time.

奈比的MP-01则要更复杂一些,有3D按钮,能发短信、设闹钟、蓝牙连接和看日历。2英寸(5厘米)的黑白屏一次只能显示几行短信。

Geke Ludden, professor of design at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, says that the devices are examples of “designs with a goal”.

荷兰特文特大学(University of Twente)的设计教授勒登(Geke Ludden)表示,这些手机是“目的性设计”的典范。

“These are so simple that they don’t allow for much interaction,” she says. “You won’t use it as much.”

“使用起来非常简单,没法提供给你太多的互动,”她说,“你不会总玩它。”

Thomas van Rompay of Twente believes their stripped-down style is what can make them truly effective at changing the behaviour of their users. The iPhone’s constant buzzing and notifications are the reasons people pick them up so often, he says. “The iPhone is much more an agent in itself, because it continuously attracts your attention.”

特文特大学的范龙佩(Thomas van Rompay)认为,精简的风格使这些手机能真正有效地改变用户的行为。他说,iPhone不停地有嗡嗡声,随时提醒有通知进来,所以人们频频拿起手机查看。“iPhone本身更像是一个中介,因为它一直在吸引你的注意力。”

A cycle of dependence can form simply by responding to these stimuli again and again. Because the MP-01 and Light Phone are virtually incapable of displaying any notifications other than an incoming call or text, owners will naturally be less prone to touching them, he says.

由于一次又一次地响应这些刺激,从而形成了一个依赖循环。他说,由于MP-01和Light Phone几乎无法显示除来电或短信以外的任何通知,用户自然就不会老碰它们。

This doesn’t necessarily mean the rush of dopamine we get when receiving notifications will go away, however. Peter Bloch, a former professor of marketing from the University of Missouri, says products like cell phones can be “non-functionally oriented”. This means that although they serve little to no practical purpose – like a work of art or, in this case, a nearly useless rectangle of the future – just looking at them can bring a significant emotional payoff.

然而,这并不意味着我们收到通知时多巴胺激增的现象就会消失。曾在密苏里大学(University of Missouri)担任市场营销学教授的布洛赫(Peter Bloch)说,像手机这样的产品,可以是“非功能性的”。这也就意味着,尽管它们几乎没有任何实际用途——就像是一件艺术品,或者在这种情况下,是一个几乎无用的未来感的矩形——仅仅看着它们就可以带来巨大的情感回报。

“It’s not doing anything for you, but it still gives you a good feeling,” Bloch says (and he is a man who purchased his home simply because he loved its Art Deco doorknobs). He says feelings like these, ones that inspire distinct changes in behaviour, are a psychological reaction triggered when we interact with a new product.

布洛赫说:“它没什么用处,但仍然能给你一种美好的感觉。”(他是那种为了装饰艺术风格的门把手,就把整个房子买下来的那种人)。他说,这种激发行为产生明显变化的感觉,是我们与一款新产品互动时所引发的一种心理反应。

In a 1995 article published in the Journal of Marketing, Bloch outlined the two components that function together to create a unique mental reaction. The “cognitive” half assesses the product by comparing it to similar products in its category. It’s what you believe about a device and what it offers. The “affective” response, on the other hand, is how the product makes you feel and react. For some, this might be the swell in their chest if they slid into the driver’s seat of a factory-fresh sports car.

1995年发表在《市场营销杂志》(Journal of Marketing)上的一篇文章中,布洛赫概述了这种心理反应的两个组成部分,它们共同发挥作用,从而创造出独特的心理反应。“认知”那一半通过比较同类产品来评估产品。这是你对一个设备及其所提供的东西的看法。另一方面,“情感”反应是产品会让你产生怎样的感觉和反应。对一些人来说,如果他们坐到一辆刚出厂的跑车的驾驶座上,内心就会激动。

Bloch says the psychological responses to the aesthetic designs of the MP-01 and Light Phone, however, might actually work against the idea of using them sparingly.

布洛赫说,人们对MP-01和Light Phone的美学设计产生的心理反应,实际上可能与谨慎使用这些产品的想法背道而驰。

“It doesn’t shout ‘emergency’ or ‘safety’ phone. There’s maybe even a fascination factor to it,” he says. “Is it too beautiful to put away?”

“它并没有标榜自己是‘紧急情况’或者‘安全’电话。甚至还可能具备一个令人着迷的因素,”他说。“太美了,放不下对不对?”

Hollier happily welcomes this dichotomy and its sceptics. When he was pitching the earliest Light Phone prototypes using a simple piece of plastic with a photoshopped image on top, he revelled in the emotional responses he received.

霍利尔倒是对这种对立及其怀疑者持欢迎态度。他在向人推销最早的Light Phone原型机时,不过使用了一块简单的塑料,表面贴着一张经过处理的图片。对于自己收获的情感反应,他得意洋洋。

“It was able to create these very polarising and interesting conversations,” he says. “People either loved it and got it, or they really really hated it.” This polarisation, in fact, is what helped propel the idea further.

“它能够引发出非常两极分化、有意思的对话,”他说。“人们要么喜欢它想买一个,要么就讨厌得要死。”事实上,这种两极分化有助于进一步推动这个创意向前发展。

Light, whose funding initially came from a Kickstarter campaign, sold around 11,000 devices to over 50 countries its first year. Punkt sells anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 pieces per year. (This includes the MP-01, as well as a small collection of other consumer electronics like alarm clocks and extension sockets.)

Light最初的资金来自于众筹平台Kickstarter,第一年它就向50多个国家售出了大约1.1万部手机。Punkt每年的销量在5万部到10万部之间。(这个数字包括MP-01,以及一小部分其他消费类电子产品,比如闹钟和扩展插座。)

The appealing visual aesthetic of these devices is hard to ignore. Their interesting shapes and greyscale colour palettes are certainly easy on the eyes. Neby says this reaction is exactly what he and his company want to elicit.

这些产品在视觉上的美感是无法忽视的。有趣的外形,以及灰色的底盘,当然是很抓眼球的。奈比表示,他和公司正是希望引发用户产生这种反应。

“Good product designs are reflecting the core value of the product itself and the purpose it serves,” he says.

“优秀的产品设计反映了产品本身的核心价值及其服务的目的,”他说。

Rompay calls the act of buying a phone like this a quest for belonging, one that companies like Apple or Samsung can’t fabricate with their own mass-produced products. Almost more important than the functionality of the device is the self-image that comes with it.

范龙佩称,购买这样一款手机是为了追求归属感,苹果或三星这样的公司无法用批量生产的产品来营造这种归属感。比设备的功能要更为重要的,是它附带的自我形象。

“People surround themselves with the things that they want to belong to, that they want their identity to be,” Rompay says. “They buy these phones because they want to be seen as the person who doesn’t use the smartphone all the time.”

“人们用能带来归属感和身份认同感的东西包围自己,”范龙佩说。“用户之所以会买这些手机是因为,他们不希望自己在别人眼里是那种会一直玩智能手机的人。”

Even though he calls himself a critic, Bloch admits that Light and Punkt have carved out a true identity for themselves in the mobile device world. He says it fits neatly inside the spectrum of something called the “need for uniqueness”.

尽管自称为批评者,霍利尔还是承认,Light和Punkt已经在移动设备领域为自己创造了一个真实的身份。他说,这完全符合所谓“独特性需求”的范畴。

Regardless of background or preference, we each have an innate desire to stand out from the crowd in some way. If you feel so unique that you can’t relate to those around you, it’s a bad feeling. On the other hand, if you’re in the Royal Marines and made to look exactly the same as the rest of your unit, your need to feel unique won’t be met. These phones, Bloch says, have found a happy middle point.

不管背景或喜好如何,我们每个人都有从人群中脱颖而出的本能欲望。如果你觉得自己很特别,而无法和周围的人相处,其实是一种很不舒服的感受。另一方面,如果你是英国皇家海军陆战队的一员,看起来和战友一模一样,那么你对独特感的需求就无法得到满足。布洛赫说,这些手机找到了一个快乐的中间点。

They give users enough aesthetic divergence from normal smartphones to stand out, while still retaining the necessary similarities to make the devices feel grounded and approachable. The result is a state of pleasant psychological satisfaction, he says.

它们向用户提供了与普通的智能手机足够大的审美差异,令其脱颖而出,同时又保留了必要的相似性,让这些手机感觉接地气、平易近人。他说,结果就是一种暗爽。

An attempt to grasp an exciting new identity, or a bid to create a more mindful relationship with technology? Either way, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff thinks it’s a step in the right direction.

是试图抓住令人兴奋的新身份,还是尝试与技术建立一种更谨慎的关系?无论哪种方式,媒体理论家拉什科夫(Douglas Rushkoff)认为,这都是朝着正确方向迈出的一步。

“I do think it’s healthy that people are longing for less. That people are saying ‘enough’.”

“我的确认为,人们对极简的渴望是健康的。大家都在说‘够了’。”

Rushkoff believes the phones’ supporters are reacting to a phenomenon he calls “present shock”. The overload of notifications, messages and stimuli on modern smartphones have made us feel as if we’re constantly scrambling to catch up with the present moment, he says. Before now, the only people that were interrupted this frequently and incessantly were emergency call operators. “It’s a real-time, always-on existence without any sense of beginning, middle or an end. It’s just now.” People are turning to phones like the Punkt and Light to stop these constant interruptions.

拉什科夫认为,这种手机的拥趸正在对他称之为“当下冲击”的现象作出反应。他说,现代智能手机上过多的通知、短信和刺激,使我们感觉一直在竞相追赶当下。在此之前,唯一经常被不停干扰的人就是急救电话的接线员。“这是一个实时的、永续的存在,不会有开始、中间或结束的感觉。只有当下。”人们转向Punkt和Light这样的手机,来阻止这些没完没了的打扰。

“People are becoming aware that there’s something of value that gets sacrificed when you’re living at the mercy of all these apps,” he said. “It’s a crude but effective way of minimising those interruptions, and a way of representing something else.”

“人们逐渐意识到,当生活完全被这些应用程序所支配时,就会牺牲一些有价值的东西,”他说。“这是一种粗暴但有效的方法,最大限度地减少干扰,也可以省去其他事情。”

“It’s kind of ironic the way to express ‘I’ve had enough’ is by buying something else,” says Ruskoff. “It’s anti-consumerist even though it’s buying something. I would rather see people disabling features on their phones.”

拉什科夫说:“讽刺的是,人们通过购买别的东西来表达‘我受够了’。尽管是在买东西,但这种行为是反消费主义的。我还是更愿意看到人们禁用手机上的一些功能。”

Bloch finds the consumerist approach somewhat ironic. “The fact that you can even buy a phone for this purpose means you’re more affluent in general,” he says. “You don’t have self-discipline.”

布洛赫发现,这种消费主义的做法有些讽刺。他说:“你甚至可以为此购买一部手机,这种行为表明你比别人富有。你缺乏自律。”

A growing number of A-list celebrities have been caught with their own downgraded cell phones. Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Anna Wintour, Daniel Day-Lewis and Warren Buffet have all, at one time or another, traded their smartphones for a cheap and basic alternative.

可以看到,越来越多的一线明星也在使用降级的手机。金·卡戴珊(Kim Kardashian)、蕾哈娜(Rihanna)、安娜·温图尔(Anna Wintour)、丹尼尔·戴·刘易斯(Daniel Day-Lewis)和沃伦·巴菲特(Warren Buffet)都曾经在某个时候用便宜的基本替代品取代智能手机。

Bloch is critical of the supposed psychological benefits of owning one of Neby and Hollier’s devices. Forcing yourself to rough it without any of the apps and features you depend on might actually create more anxiety than it takes away.

对于拥有奈比和霍利尔的手机能否带来心理益处,布洛赫持批评态度。强迫自己远离那些让你欲罢不能的应用程序和功能,其实可能会导致更多焦虑。

“I don’t know if we can put the genie back in the bottle.”

“我不知道能否关上这个潘多拉魔盒。”

The central problem we’re faced with today both as humans and tech users, Rushkoff says, is the conflation of chronos and kairos, ancient Greek terms that describe two different methods of timekeeping. Chronos is the standard time, the minutes and hours that society follows and lives by. Kairos is human time, an internal concept to us that can’t be broken into any distinct measurement.

拉什科夫说,人类和科技使用者今天面临的核心问题是把chronos和kairos合并在一起,这两个古希腊术语描述的是两种不同的计时方法。chronos是标准时间,是社会遵循的分钟和小时。kairos是人类时间,对我们来说是一个内在的概念,不能分解成不同的量度。

Rushkoff says kairos time is a type of biological, ever-changing clock affected by natural events like the seasons, day and night, the weather and people’s own emotional states. Modern smartphone technology, the kind that pulls us headlong into the world of chronos time, interferes with the rhythms of kairos.

拉什科夫说,kairos时间是一种生物性的、不断变化的时钟,它受季节、昼夜、天气和人们自身情绪状态等自然事件的影响。现代的智能手机技术把我们猛然拖进了chronos时间的世界,干扰了kairos的节奏。

Loosening the grip on people’s smartphones is tough, Hollier says. But the growing pains of relearning how to live a disconnected lifestyle are part of his efforts to change societal behaviour and psychological health at large. Sometimes that change is sweeping and visible. Other times, he says, it’s a much more intimate experience.

霍利尔说,人们放下智能手机的确很难。不过,在重新学习摆脱手机的生活方式中,一个人所经历的困难,也是为了改变他的社会行为和总体心理健康。有时,这种改变彻底而明显。也有时,这种经历是一种更私密的体验,他说。

“If you go to the bathroom and pull out your phone, and laugh at yourself, that’s a mini-success.”

“如果你去洗手间,拿出手机,然后嘲笑自己,这就是一次小小的成功”。

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