You are the interface: Interacting with our new, connected environments


During the great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, a seismic event that killed a quarter of a million people, a community of “primitive” individuals was able to preserve their culture and lives in the face of supreme devastation. Given the location of their encampments along the islands west of Burma, the Moken people, by all stretches of logic, should have been obliterated during the tsunami, but their casualties were minimal.

mobilize-2013-essayIn determining how a community void of modern technology could have survived such a devastating event, anthropologists concluded that the Moken’s relationship with their environment, through various audible and visual cues, provided them with a keen understanding of the impending danger and led them to take action that saved their lives. In the hours leading up to the tsunami, the Moken noticed that the normally incessant cicadas on land had gone silent, and that normally reclusive crabs and lobsters…

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