My electronic life: Technological hermits

“…to be able to get to the future, we have to be able to create visions of the future. We are both made of the world of design and we design the world that we make, which means that whenever we make a design decision we are in fact making a decision about the future and ourselves”
(Fry 2012).

Creating potential scenarios and exploring those possible futures is a huge part of being a designer today, it might be quite far fetch to be looking into the future such as the year 2050, but essentially we are the designers of the future and it is our responsibility to be aware of potential issues we may face and thus try combat and overcome them.

Extending into the Task 2, as a group we have learnt how we can take a small idea of potential scenario which can then develop into such a rich and complex human story – which is plausible and quite frightening at the same time.

Imagining it is 2050…
You are a designer and you are single. Since the turn of the century, beginning with online dating, digital technologies have been increasingly part of the way that relationships begin and are maintained (Tinder, Facebook, Grinder, RSVP). Now people spend more time with their electronic devices than they do in human to human relations. Education, employment and family relationships largely occur remotely.

This task really demonstrated how design is integrated and plays a huge part in changing social, environmental, cultural and political contexts – and forcing us to wake up, question and really realise what is happening now that we really don’t notice as a problem,

With this task we really were able to highlight those consequences of events that have taken part today and to be able to reflect on those contemporary situations and revealing those problems that exists we must counteract them in the future.

So does new technology separate or bring us together?

Through extending key values discussed during my primary research, we must understand all possibilities including the negative downsides of a high technologically dependent society. Perhaps it is time to ask publicly whether schools, universities and other educational facilities, should be an keen partner in deepening that dependency on devices and gadgets with screens?(Cuban 2010).
Sherry Turkle, a psychologist, where in her TED Talk 2012, she questions: What is the connection between Social Networks and Being Lonely? And discusses the rise of social media and the ironic phenomena of “being alone together”. She delves into the issues of humanity’s increasing dependence on technology and where new technologies have reduced the amount of communication and thus isolating individuals.
The increase in new technologies, especially as they become more part of popular as a cultural trend, such a the Apple products or online social media like Facebook – have become the ‘norm’ in our culture. We therefore become quite dependent as they integrate into our daily patterns and behavious of our lives (Cuban 2010).
For instance, online social platforms have developed this vein cultural process to allow us to edit and retouch our personal identity, where what we would normally have as a naturally complex, messy and often ambiguous human to human relationship, technology can now allow you to select, order, and cleaned up that process.
Connected, But Alone. Sherry Turkle TED talk –

The motion graphic “The Innovation of Loneliness” nicely sums up the ideas of Sherry Turkle and bases those ideas also presented by Dr. Yair Amichai-Hamburgers hebrew article -The Invention of Loneliness.

Additionally, this project I had come across by Shane Zhong, studies that very issue of technology dependence, in the potential of where it this dependence will eventually evolve into an addiction. He explores this consequent subculture, with those who highly rely on new technology, which he calls ‘Urban hermits’.

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Device addiction

 

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 Physical Presence and Mental Absence / Narcism

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The imagery narrate and reflect on the enact behaviors observed in everyday life, and focuses on those underlying that triggers that cause this phenomenon. He inherently challenges those notions and aims of technology to connect people together by portraying the stark reality of the dis-connectivity and essentially loneliness it does result.

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He forefronts the reliance on technology of the individual while at the same time demonstrates his conceptual solution in attempt to overcome this in his project. The application he develops aims to keep that balance and be able to moderate technology by only allowing conversation with the essential functions of text messaging and calling, where “conversational partners can ‘stay disconnected together’.

Furthermore what is also quite frightening is that Neuroscientists say that the combination of new emerging technologies, social media and simply the endless fountain of information available to us today from such thing like the internet and other digital sources, have changed the way and how we think and behave(Cuban 2010).. Apparently, our brain when using such things like computing technology and other electronic devices – it undergoes re-wiring through the continued every day – and thus through this experience, this modifies our brain (Cuban 2010). With this being said, according to current surveys the youth already spends up to 8hrs a day looking at media (mobile devices, computers, T.V. etc.) and thats not even including the screen time they do at school.

As Ashwin mentioned when talking about human and technology interactions, he talked about the idea of connectedness and we must reflect on technology by questioning: Is technology the source of everything? and rethink this notion by discouraging this viewpoint into “the importance of using technology as a tool to aide our lifestyle and not as the lifestyle itself”.
If we rely on technology within our lifestyle too much, we loose that sense of practical wisdom, which is the ability to draw upon knowledge in your surrounding environment in a selective manner to achieve or find a solution. Here is a experiment conducted of humans and the aim was to get the nut from the maker.

Is saying so, through this research in extending our scenario, we were able to further reflect on the ideas explored by the designer and the problems we have to overcome in this technological world, which thus led to the overarching concept of our scenario.

 

References:

Cuban, Larry, 2010, High Tech Gadgets: Addiction, Dependency, or Hype?, http://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2010/06/17/high-tech-gadgets-addiction-dependency-or-hype/,

The Innovation of Loneliness – vimeo video,  http://vimeo.com/70534716, (10/2014)

Zhong, Shane, ‘Urban Hermit’, https://www.behance.net/gallery/18132723/Urban-Hermit, (10/2014)

Experiment: get the nut from the maker. Man vs. monkey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlfquzqRXC4, (10/2014)

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