There is a word similar to dematerialization that represents a slightly different concept.

The concept goes something like this: everything eventually becomes invisible.

The concept is particularly evident in technology. For example, paper was (and still is) an important technology but it is rapidly disappearing. It's gradually being replaced by computers. So, although the purpose & concept of paper is still around - the physical form is disappearing.

Another example is the horn on a car. A century ago it was literally a pump you squeezed. Later the pump was integrated into the center of the steering wheel. And now, many cars there is no pump at all; it's simply an electronic button. That is this concept in action.

I want to say demapherialization but couldn't find any matches when Googling. But I do know for a fact there is a Wikipedia entry on it. The term was dubbed many decades ago.

Anyway, it's a pretty cool concept. Perhaps someone may know it.

  • Some might simply call it progress.
    – Hugo
    Oct 22, 2011 at 18:38
  • 1
    Rather a long time ago, I saw a documentary where they were researching sound effects for cars, such as a clicking turn signal. With today's electronic equipment, there is no longer any natural sound. So they added one. =)
    – TLP
    Oct 22, 2011 at 22:29
  • @TLP See this and that.
    – Hugo
    Oct 23, 2011 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


Perhaps you're thinking of ephemeralization? (I hesitate because I would have defined it rather differently than you have, so I'm not quite sure it's the concept you're after.)

  • 1
    Yes, thank-you ! That is the one :)
    – Derrick
    Oct 22, 2011 at 17:18
  • Of course. It is a cool concept.
    – user13141
    Oct 22, 2011 at 20:46

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