The Transformation of Interaction

Back in 2013, as Smartphone use was growing, I wrote about Next Generation Experiences; viewing customer experience through a lens of constant change, where failure to address foundational elements meant falling further behind. Since then, our mode of interaction witnessed a third transformation, as touch became a critical piece of our everyday experiences. Now, we find ourselves approaching the next significant change in interaction paradigms: the Fourth Transformation driven by mixed reality.

Transformation of Interaction


Somewhere in the not too distant future, we will witness a fifth transformation driven by our brainwaves. Here is a brief description of each transformation:

First transformation: typing in the mainframe era. In the 1970s, people typed on a keyboard and used text characters to communicate directly with computers.

Second transformation: clicking in the GUI and Internet era. The graphical user interface (GUI) was born, as Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984, followed a few years later by Microsoft Windows. We added clicking with a mouse to our modes of interaction. 

Third transformation: touching in the smartphone era. The third transformation came in 2007 with the introduction of smartphones. Touch transformed personal computing and became the primary interface. 

Fourth transformation: conversational, gesturing, and eye interaction in the mixed reality era. In this era, people will interact by tapping, winking, blinking, talking, and gesturing their way through interactions. An evolution towards eye-based interaction seems inevitable, as technology ultimately understands intent and our eyes drive action without gesture or voice cues.

As more learning and innovation happens in the area of brain science, a fifth transformation will occur: brain interaction in the brainwave era. We have already reached a point where people playing games in headsets move things around and zap zombies with brainwaves rather than hand controls.

With each transformation, experience speeds up and the ease in which we accomplish things is enhanced. This transformation in interaction combined with the emergence of ecosystems will change the way we experience life in considerable ways. I’ll focus on the ecosystem piece of this evolution in my next post.

13 thoughts on “The Transformation of Interaction

  1. In the Fourth Transformation people will see computer generated images mixed tightly with reality where we won’t really be able to tell what is real and what is illusion. What is the business advantage of that?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I would expect that not only does the transformation become more rapid, speed and accuracy of interpretation of the interaction accelerates significantly. For example a mobile app interpreting my intent to zoom on a specific portion of a photograph is much faster and more precise than how I previously updated zoom percentage and centering coordinates. The Fourth Generation likely ushers in even greater speed and accuracy while expanding the ability to handle much larger and disparate information sets and interpret more subtle contextual variations.


  3. […] Shifting interaction paradigm: Google recently unveiled a new AI assistant that can talk and interact like a person. When Duplex called a hair salon to make an appointment,  the woman on the line had no idea she wasn’t talking to a person. Google says it is building Duplex “to sound natural, to make the conversation experience comfortable.” I have written extensively about the Transformation of Interaction. […]


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