As I noted some time ago, symbolic communication is an advance over iconic communication, so icons showing up in many daily devices does not necessarialy represent a unalloyed good. Today I encountered a paradigmatic case. A light in my car came on. The meaning of the light is "explained" by a little icon that looks like the stereotypical lightbulb one finds signifying a "bright idea." SO, did my car just have a bright idea? Does the icon of a lightbulb signify that a warning light just came on?
Sure, in the days when they would put English words on these lihgts, perhaps only 25% of the people in the world could read them. That's certainly better than the .01% I suspect can comprehend the lightbulb.