An essay by Lex Nearhood, as provided by Amandeep Jutla
Art by America Jones
SharkLightning‘s surprise announcement was a classic Shark move: bold and puzzling in equal measure. The news caught a lot of journalists (including your humble correspondent) off-guard: SharkLightning would be the first mediator from a company that had heretofore never so much as hinted at an interest in interface tech. Exciting, sure, but why? And why now? The mediator space is already crowded–some might say saturated. Does the world really need yet another device? Shark seems to think so. After my week of quality time with SharkLightning, I believe I can see why.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you already use a mediator. That means SharkLightning is not for you. It’s not for me, either. It’s for the less tech-savvy people in your life, whoever they may be: your mother, your uncle, your husband, your cousin. Remember how I said that before last month’s announcement, everyone figured Shark had no interest in interface tech? Guess what: even in a post-SharkLightning world, in a very real sense, Shark still has no interest in interface tech. This is its particular genius.
SharkLightning doesn’t have an interface; it is one. It’s so streamlined, so dead-simple, that when you put it on, it begins mediating without you even realizing what it’s doing. When you start using it, you might, as I did, make the mistake of looking for a config menu, or an intensity slider. These things don’t exist. There’s nothing but you, the net, and SharkLightning in between, hooked into both and silently doing its thing.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2016 collection.
Lex Nearhood has been writing about mediators, interfaces, and networks since 2071. Her signature, accessible style earned her last year’s prestigious Pulitzer Prize for Basically Readable Technology Writing, and her famous product reviews are so renowned for their accuracy that the New York Times has called her “the lone voice of reason in the landscape of misinformation that is tech journalism today.” The New York Times is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shark Corporation.
Amandeep Jutla is a writer and psychiatrist in Los Angeles. Visit him at www.amandeepjutla.com.
AJ is an illustrator and comic artist with a passion for neon colors and queer culture. Catch them being antisocial on social media @thehauntedboy.
“Shark Does it Again!” is © 2016 Amandeep Jutla.
Art accompanying story is © 2016 America Jones.