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The end of the keyboard

Nothing to do with banking, except that banks run on technology and one key piece of technology is about to die: the keyboard.

I've predicted the end of the keyboard for years, as it's not intuitive or natural to type.  We just do it because we've learned it is the only way to use today's computers effectively.

My prediction is that keyboards will disappear by 2020 as intuitive video and voice commands move us to seeing, touching and talking with technology, rather than typing and staring at technology.

What I didn't know is that Apple was going to beat me to it:

Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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5 comments

  1. Man, I love the Onion. Imagine a day when everything you need is only a few hundred mouse clicks away…

  2. Interesting post Chris, and the video is very amusing indeed. We are almost at a time where technology can do everything for us, but eliminating the humble keyboard especially on the trading floor will only cause problems, in my opinion.
    While it is natural for humans to talk, it is not in our nature to dictate, and this is where the errors with voice command technologies will occur. When the trader says ’Bye’ does it mean Buy or farewell? Allocating codewords is never going to be 100 per cent effective, as it is impossible to know that a word will not come up in conversation. There will always be a great risk, and an even greater potential loss at stake. Even junior traders can enter and execute trades quicker than they can say it. In this current economic climate, I can’t see CTOs planning to invest budgets into technologies which could potentially cause huge consequences.
    Keyboard technology has already progressed beyond the standard QWERTY layout and when combined with voice technologies could enable trading to be much more effective. Ultimately, a keyboard with the equivalent of ‘Buy’, ‘Sell’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons should always act as the last step in confirming the transaction, although voice and other data entry technologies should help the trader navigate the different screens and options, before making the trade.
    It could be a while before this happens, though!

  3. Interesting post Chris, and the video is very amusing indeed. We are almost at a time where technology can do everything for us, but eliminating the humble keyboard especially on the trading floor will only cause problems, in my opinion.
    While it is natural for humans to talk, it is not in our nature to dictate, and this is where the errors with voice command technologies will occur. When the trader says ’Bye’ does it mean Buy or farewell? Allocating codewords is never going to be 100 per cent effective, as it is impossible to know that a word will not come up in conversation. There will always be a great risk, and an even greater potential loss at stake. Even junior traders can enter and execute trades quicker than they can say it. In this current economic climate, I can’t see CTOs planning to invest budgets into technologies which could potentially cause huge consequences.
    Keyboard technology has already progressed beyond the standard QWERTY layout and when combined with voice technologies could enable trading to be much more effective. Ultimately, a keyboard with the equivalent of ‘Buy’, ‘Sell’ and ‘Cancel’ buttons should always act as the last step in confirming the transaction, although voice and other data entry technologies should help the trader navigate the different screens and options, before making the trade.
    It could be a while before this happens, though!

  4. Thanks David
    I guess we’re looking at talk and touch, e.g. you point to confirm commands like in Minority Report or Microsoft’s Surface: http://www.microsoft.com/SURFACE/index.html
    The combination of touch and talk overcomes the issues you raise I would have thought?
    Chris

  5. Hi Chris,
    I really like this line of development, the hand gesture interfaces can certainly help navigate a database, be it media, maps, information or whatever but it would not work in the current form in a fast moving trading floor.
    Think of the voice and gesture interfaces seen in Star Trek and then think of how they use the Phaser. No gesture or voice command just a simple button, something tactile that has a single purpose in an easy to find position.
    Sure the iPhone interface is fantastic but I find the inability to highlight so you can cut or copy and paste a killer.
    That’s not to say someone much brighter than me will come up with an intuitive interface that works. After a generation used to using a mouse and GUI there are still many tasks that are quicker and easier to do using the command line interface.

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