Latest Issue

Dr Pangloss

The strange conservatism of computer interfaces

By Tom Chatfield   July 2009

In an age where the phone in your pocket is smarter than the computer that put men on the Moon, have you ever paused to wonder why one aspect of computing—physical interfaces—is so startlingly static? The keyboards we type on are essentially identical not only to those used on the very first home computers, but to 19th-century typewriters. It’s a bit like using reins to drive an F1 car. Even the mouse has hardly changed in 25 years.

Keyboards and mice are still with us because they work, of course. If you know how to use them, they’re quick and…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect