In a follow-up phone interview with FierceMobileHealthcare, WellDoc President and Chief Operating Officer Dr. Anand Iyer, whose company showed off its DiabetesManager service–which would work in correlation with the automaker’s voice-activated in-care connectivity system SYNC via the cloud–said he believes that the demonstration is the beginning of a new trend.
Posts in category 'Mobility'
Though the sample size is small, the researchers dug deep into participants’ reactions. The results could have a dramatic effect on public transportation planning, and certainly will catch the attention of planners and programmers alike. By encouraging the development of apps that make commuting easier, transit agencies can drastically, and at little cost, improve the ridership experience and make riding mass transit more attractive.
“For each OEM, the basic decision about infotainment is this: whether to “embed” most of the enabling hardware and software for wireless communications into the infrastructure of the vehicle, essentially creating their own mobile devices — or to minimize such integration and concentrate on producing the best possible interfaces with cell phones, smart phones and other devices consumers already are using and bringing into the vehicle.
Ford sits more or less at one end of the spectrum with Sync, whose strength on a practical and marketing basis seems to be that the system makes it easy to use already-favorite wireless devices and programs in Ford’s cars. [...]
On the other end of the scale is GM, which committed itself mainly to an embedded strategy nearly two decades ago with OnStar, building the service into its vehicles — and basically has stuck with that approach since then.”
In setting its strategy, Viscnic says, each OEM is wrestling with the following realities:
- The demographics of the customer: Unanimously, OEMs see interest in heavily embedded devices and systems being stronger with older people and higher in luxury segments.
- The rate of change: Automakers have long had difficulty keeping up with the incredibly fast pace of change in digital technology compared with the relatively slow speed at which new systems and technologies take root in vehicles and with the overall product cycle of cars. But now the tension is getting worse.
- The ubiquity of mobile devices: Seventy percent of mobile-phone use occurs inside vehicles, so “a responsible OEM” must consider how consumers interact with handsets and other peripherals in the vehicle. Yet smart phones at this point comprise only about 20 percent of the mobile-phone market.
- The tyranny of apps: Consumers increasingly expect to be able to use all their favorite websites and apps on their smart phones in the vehicle even if it isn’t safe for them to do so while driving.
- The issue of redundancy: One of the big advantages of a tethered system is it doesn’t require users of onboard infotainment services to subscribe to another wireless service, such as OnStar or Safety Connect.
- The robustness of onboard systems: For what safety services promote and offer, they really can’t depend on brought-in mobile devices.
- The role of safety: The issue of how infotainment affects driver and passenger safety is on everyone’s lips.
The project, which was presented last week in Istanbul, Turkey (and only got covered, it seems, by the Turkish press), also includes a book and downloadable pdf (315 pages).
The Future Agenda programme brought together informed people from around the world to analyse the crucial themes of the next ten years. Fifty workshops in twenty-five locations took place and resulted in a unique view of the next ten years. The website reports on the key conclusions.
In the opening section, Vodafone details what it sees as the four macro-scale certainties for the next decade – the things that, unless there is an unexpected, massive and fundamental global shift, will most definitely occur and so are the certitudes upon which everything else is built. These certainties are 1) a continued imbalance in population growth, 2) more key resource constraints, 3) an accelerating eastward shift of economic power to Asia, and 4) pervasive global connectivity.
The second section explores some of the key insights gained into how the world and our lives will probably change over the next decade. These are the key changes that will occur in many different areas, some influenced by just one of the four certainties, others by two or more. These changes are detailed by providing both the signals from today that give evidence to support the direction of change and the future implications over the next ten years. They are grouped into six clusters – health, wealth, happiness, mobility, security and locality – which seem to encompass all the issues highlighted. Each change that is depicted in this section is variously linked to a number of others.
The Future Agenda team invited students of the the Innovation Design Engineering Department (IDE) of the Royal College of Arts to create some solutions to the challenges we face. IDE focuses on using cutting edge product design experimentation and systems thinking to tackle important real world issues with advanced technical design (and) within social parameters. Short videos show the results of this RCA project.
The Forum for the Future report devotes a lot of attention to new types of user-centred mobility solutions, as reported by The Guardian:
“Moving away from car ownership, using real-time traffic information to help plan journeys and having more virtual meetings will be vital to prevent the megacities of the future from becoming dysfunctional and unpleasant places to live, according to a study by the environmental think tank Forum for the Future. [...]
One issue is to integrate different modes of transport: citizens will want to walk, cycle, access public transport, drive personal vehicles or a mixture of all modes in one journey. “Information technology is going to be incredibly important in all of this, in terms of better integrating and connecting physical modes of transport,” said [Ivana] Gazibara [, senior strategic adviser at Forum for the Future and an author of the report]. “But we’re also going to see lots more user-centred ICT [information and communication technology] so it makes it easier for us to access things virtually.”
Of particular interest too are the four scenarios for urban mobility in 2040, which paint vivid pictures of four possible worlds in 2040. Scenario animations bring each world to life, as they follow a day in the life of an ordinary woman, examining the mobility challenges and solutions in each world:
In a world of fossil fuels and expensive energy, the only solution is tightly planned and controlled urban transport.
The city is dominated by fossil fuel-powered cars.The elite still gets around, but most urban dwellers face poor transport infrastructure.
The world has turned to alternative energy and high-tech, clean, well-planned transport helps everyone get around.
The world has turned to alternative energy, and transport is highly personalised with a huge variety of transport modes competing for road space.
The article highlights the innovative role of Fiat, which has been compiling data from the Blue&Me navigation systems installed on many of its cars over a six-month period – the largest such data harvest done by a major carmaker.
“It is not hard to see a future where the on-board computers get ever more sophisticated – such as personal profiles for a car, so the car’s settings are individualised for each family member.
The computer would adjust the seats, music, the suspension between sports and comfort mode, depending on which family member was using the car.
All while telling each one how to be a better – and more fuel-efficient – driver. [...]
Increased data collection also tells us a lot about different drivers and how they use the cars. [...]
Carmakers are bracing for a world where not only are cars collecting data about you, but they are sharing it with each other.”
The ASSIST project, in collaboration with Enthoven Associates, is focused on improving mobility and communications for people with motor disabilities, whereas the EVENT project (conducted with FutureProofed) supports Kortrijk Xpo in becoming the most sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium and one of the top five most sustainable fair complexes in Europe by 2020.
With these applied research projects, Flanders InShape aims to augment the efficiency and effectiveness of product development in Flanders and to improve the competitive position of Flemish companies through the development of products with higher added value for the customer.
ASSIST – Improving mobility and communications for people with motor disabilities
The Assist project, which Experientia conducts in collaboration with acclaimed Belgian design consultancy Enthoven Associates and care organisations Centrum voor Zorgtechnologie and In-HAM, aims to develop new concept ideas for assistive technologies for people with motor disabilities, using a people-centred design process. Although aimed at a Flemish context, the project focuses on international technological and design projects.
In the first phase of the project, Experientia has conducted a comprehensive benchmarking of current assistive device solutions for people with walking difficulties. The benchmark explores both on-body assistive devices, which are always in contact with motor disabled people, such as wheelchairs, rollators and standers; and assistive environments, including public transportation, mobile applications and accessibility.
Experientia will also contribute to the creation of scenarios for use during contextual observation to validate the design opportunities found in the benchmark. Enthoven Associates is currently conducting the user research and jointly the partners will then take the insights further, supported by a creative workshop to generate ideas, into design concepts.
EVENT – Sustainable event management project
The Event project sees Experientia team up with Futureproofed, a sustainable design consultancy, and Kortrijk Xpo, a conference and trade fair venue in Kortrijk, Belgium, to explore ways to make events more sustainable. The ambitious goal of this project is to make Kortrijk Xpo the most sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium and one of the top five most sustainable fair complexes in Europe by 2020.
Trade fairs, congresses and events are key areas of concern for sustainability, because they involve a large number of diverse players both directly and indirectly (e.g. stand builders, lighting installers, textile manufacturers, etc.) and because time criteria often become more important during assembly, disassembly and transport, than any concern for sustainability.
This project will explore how impact can be best achieved, though good planning, preparation and usage of the right materials and products.
Futureproofed will carry out a carbon footprint analysis of Kortrijk Xpo, whereas Experientia will benchmark international best practice on sustainability for trade shows, expositions, and major public events. Together with Futureproofed, we will build a behavioural change framework, and conduct participatory workshops and concept development for more sustainable practices.
This exciting project builds on the themes that Experientia is currently exploring in our Low2No project in Helsinki, and is in keeping with our overall company commitment to sustainability.
“Ford’s goal in establishing a set of design principles for automotive interfaces that would be consistently applied to all models was to improve what it called the cabin experience. The program was given the internal code name HAL. [...]
The guidelines that resulted from the program, a sort of universal logic for all the cars’ switches and systems, helped shape the dashboard controls in the redesigned Ford Edge and Explorer. The standards will apply to future Ford models around the world.”
Some articles are clearly more inspired (and less technology and US-centered) than others. Many scenarios are far too optimistic, and I miss some broader socio-economic and environmental analysis. What could be the real consequences of privacy concerns, crime, cultural differences, war, climate change, overpopulation or poverty in all this?
Here is for instance a quote from one of the scenarios (about social networking in 2020) that, when thinking about it, would open up a huge range of privacy and security problems, none of which are acknowledged or addressed:
“The virtual display could be used to illustrate relationships between a group of people. A husband and wife might be linked by a thin glowing tether. Flowchart arrows could indicate if one person is another’s boss. Even former friends–people who were once connected but severed ties–could be identified with broken chains or angry lightning bolts.”
This lack of broader contextualisation makes the whole exercise somewhat naive and superficial. That said, here are my preferred pieces (with Steve McCallion’s one – addressing some of the issues mentioned above – my personal number one):
Your life in 2020
by John Maeda, president of RISD
In 2020 we might just regain some of the humanity that was lost in 2010.
“So, what will take technology’s place? It begins with art, design and you: Products and culture that are made by many individuals, made by hand, made well, made by people we trust, and made to capture some of the nuances and imperfections that we treasure in the physical world. It may just feel like we’ve regained some of what we’ve lost in 2010.”
Your computer in 2020
by Mark Rolston, chief creative officer at Frog Design
Traditional computers are disappearing; human beings themselves are becoming information augmented
“When computing becomes deeply integrated into our knowing, our thinking, our decision processes, our bodies and even our consciousness, we are forever changed. We are becoming augmented. Our first and second lives will be forever entwined.”
Transportation in 2020
by Steve McCallion, executive creative director at Ziba Design
In 10 years, your commute will be short, cheap and, dare we say, fun.
“In 2020 a new generation will emerge from a period of frugality into one of resourcefulness and resilience. Americans will start searching for transportation solutions that are smarter, healthier, slower and more social.”
The classroom in 2020
by George Kembel, cofounder and executive director of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design
The next decade will bring an end to school as we know it.
“In 2020 we will see an end to the classroom as we know it. The lone professor will be replaced by a team of coaches from vastly different fields. Tidy lectures will be supplanted by messy real-world challenges. Instead of parking themselves in a lecture hall for hours, students will work in collaborative spaces, where future doctors, lawyers, business leaders, engineers, journalists and artists learn to integrate their different approaches to problem solving and innovate together.”
Reputation in 2020
by David Ewait, Fortune Magazine
Social networks change the way we look at the world and introduce new economic incentives.
“Web-based social networks are cutting-edge technology in 2010. By the year 2020 they’ll be so commonplace–and so deeply embedded in our lives–that we’ll navigate them in the real world, in real time, using displays that splash details over our own field of vision. We’ll even use the social capital that results from these networks as a form of currency.”
But if you understand French, it is useful to compare these insights with the five videos broadcast on the France 5 channel: vivre en 2040.
“In fact, for the past year I’ve been pushing the theory that the Age of Tablets will give print media one last bite at the apple — and publishing companies that are able to make the transition could one day thrive again. I’m so convinced that it will happen that I’ve been working with other folks here at Time Inc. (Fortune’s publisher) to create prototypes of digital magazines that will soon be delivered to tablets and smartphones. So consider this my apologia.
This isn’t a case of excessive introspection on the part of a media insider: The future of publishing is fast becoming topic A in business circles. Financiers who make trades based on access to reliable information fret about the fate of outlets like the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times. Urban planners worry about what happens to communities if digital books make libraries obsolete. “
Read also what these ten ‘sages’ think.
“The concept aims to capture the essence of magazine reading, which people have been enjoying for decades: an engaging and unique reading experience in which high-quality writing and stunning imagery build up immersive stories.
The concept uses the power of digital media to create a rich and meaningful experience, while maintaining the relaxed and curated features of printed magazines. It has been designed for a world in which interactivity, abundant information and unlimited options could be perceived as intrusive and overwhelming.”
1. Mobile Playfulness
Video about how to incorporate playfulness into the UI of phones. We think that people naturally play and fiddle with things and that we can incorporate that into the UI naturally and passively rather than as active lay like games.
2. Staying Connected
People treat their phones as disposable. How can we make people have a more emotional connection with their phone so that they value it more, and therefore make a brand more desirable and less throw-away or disposable.
3. Little World (featured in Fast Company)
Mobile phones are very task based. They focus on what we want to do, not who we want to contact. What would happen if you put people at the centre of an interface? Here we explored such an interface and see how concepts like grouping, messaging and adding friends might work.
“Though many computer applications and operating systems make use of real-world metaphors like the desktop, most software interface design has little to do with how we actually experience the real world. In lots of cases, there are great reasons not to directly mimic reality. Not doing so allows us to create interfaces that enable people to be more productive, communicate in new ways, or manage an increasing amount of information. In other words, to do things we can’t otherwise do in real life.
But sometimes, it makes sense to think of the real world as an interface. To design user interactions that make use of how people actually see the world -to take advantage of first person user interfaces.
First person user interfaces can be a good fit for applications that allow people to navigate the real world, “augment” their immediate surroundings with relevant information, and interact with objects or people directly around them.”
(via Bruce Sterling)
“Some 39% of Americans have positive and improving attitudes about their mobile communication devices, which in turn draws them further into engagement with digital resources – on both wireless and wireline platforms.
Mobile connectivity is now a powerful differentiator among technology users. Those who plug into the information and communications world while on-the-go are notably more active in many facets of digital life than those who use wires to jack into the internet and the 14% of Americans who are off the grid entirely.
- Digital collaborators: 8% of adults use information gadgets to collaborate with others and share their creativity with the world
- Ambivalent networkers: 7% of adults actively use mobile devices to connect with others and entertain themselves, yet are ambivalent about all the connectivity
- 8% of Americans find mobility lighting their information pathways, but have comparatively few tech assets at home
- 16% of adults are active conduits of content and information for either fun or for personal productivity
- 61% are anchored to stationary media; though many have broadband and cell phones, coping with access is often too much for them”
A more journalistic reflection on the study can be found on the site of the Christian Science Monitor.
Taken your medicine?
Health care: Mobile phones provide a cheap and simple way to ensure that patients have popped their pills.
Very nice and simple service design project in emerging markets
Mapping a better world
Software: Interest groups around the world are using mapping tools and internet-based information sources to campaign for change.
Great article on how mapping technologies are creating real social change
The connected car
Cars are becoming more connected, both to remote systems for navigation and information, and to each other.
The internet of things, in and around your car
Sensors and sensitivity
Data collection: Mobile phones provide new ways to gather information, both manually and automatically, over wide areas.
What would be the advantages of turning the world’s 4 billion mobile phones into sensors on a global data-collection network?
You can download a PDF of the entire supplement, courtesy of SAP.
“You cannot be truly ‘in the moment’ when you’re juggling several moments at once. You cannot make the most of now when you turn ‘now’ into a frenzy of multitasking.
Being ‘always on’ transforms communication technology into a weapon of mass distraction. [...]
Constant connection makes us chronically impatient. We come to expect everything to happen at the touch of a button – and get angry when it doesn’t. As the actress Carrie Fisher once quipped, these days “even instant gratification takes too long.”
Being ‘always on’ also makes it hard to stop and stare; to smell the proverbial roses. We miss the details, the fine grain of the world around us when our eyes are glued to a screen. We lose the joy of discovering things on our own, or by chance, when we stick to routes prescribed by a GPS download. When travel involves firing off a stream of texts, tweets and audio-video footage to friends and family back home, we never completely immerse ourselves in a new place.”
“Bending and transcending the constraints of time and space has gotten easy for us. With our mobiles and netbooks, we’re about to create a social setting in which communication and self-expression are possible not only on the go, but also at the speed of thought. We can convert dead time into creative time, are provided with information when we need it, can react to events in an instant and enjoy each precious little moment with our dear ones. Constant contact has become so convenient that we sometimes have to keep ourselves from cramming as much as we can into every second.”
The articles come in weekly instalments, and in her contribution to receiver Mary Chayko, professor and chairperson of sociology at the College of St Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey looks at the connections we make and the social networking that takes place on the internet and mobile phones. She discusses the immediacy and the appeal, the challenges and the complexities, of our spending so many moments interacting in on-line and mobile “portable communities”, and all this in a very human-centred way.
“Portable communities and social networks would not have become such enticing ‘places’ in which to devote so much of our time if the social connections made there were not real and genuine.
It’s clear by now (though it wasn’t when I began studying all this almost twenty years ago) that real social bonds and communities are made with the assistance of technology. These connections can be vivid, authentic, reciprocal, and highly meaningful for people. Of course, sometimes, they are none of these things. But generally, in the emotional, often intimate, immediacy of the moments spent on-line (especially with wireless and mobile devices) social connections are made easily – connections which very much matter to us. They bring about real tears and smiles, create real friendships and partnerships and break up real marriages and careers. In short, they produce genuine feelings and pleasures and problems, with real and definite consequences which, the sociologist »» W.I. Thomas says, is the true test of realness. We do on-line and mobile social connectedness a disservice (and fail to understand it fully) when we treat it as anything less than fully real.”
“Car sharing, is a pay-per-use system, which has the effect of significantly altering driving behavior. Evidence suggests that sharers drive from a quarter to half as much as owners — a staggering reduction in energy consumption. Not only do they drive less frequently, but they also drive differently. They “chain” their trips, making multiple stops along the shortest route in order to drive most efficiently. They save money, do better by the environment and contribute less to congestion. Car sharing also has an appealing communal spirit.”
“The research in this group consists of both technical and social-science research. We do work in the areas of ethnography, sociology, political science, and economics, all of which help understand the social context of technology, and we also do technical research in hardware and software to devise solutions that are designed for emerging and underserved markets, both in rural and urban environments.”
Check out some of their projects.
Beyond the engineers and business’ discourse about the future, what is it designers can propose? What sort of alternatives are they envisioning? What’s the role of design thinking in creating more meaningful futures?
With Fabio Sergio, James Auger and Anab Jain and open stage talks by Fabian Kalker and Felix Koch, and Bill Thompson.
Note: this post contains embedded video which might now not show up in your rss feed.
(Note that the above video is actually in English, and not in French, and that it doesn’t always load).
At LIFT he presented a designing for social impact project: Masiluleke (which means “lend a helping hand” in Zulu), a breakthrough approach to reversing HIV and TB in South Africa and beyond.
Frog was asked to conduct a project on this in New York and Sergio is simply relaying the project approach and results (he didn’t work on it himself).
Based on on-the-ground research, it became clear to t he designers that HIV is primarily a problem of information and social stigma in South Africa.
The methodology used was the normal Frog one of shaping the user experience, which goes from immersion, to synthesis, to concept development, and to service design.
In South Africa more than 80% of the population has access to a mobile device. So one of the key ideas of the Masiluleke project is to broadcast sms in the unused space of the “Please Call Me” (PCM) text messages (a special, free form of SMS text widely used in South Africa and across the African continent). These messages can connect mobile users to existing HIV and TB call centres, and remind patients to take theirs drugs.
But the project also wanted to facilitate local testing, so they created a low cost in-home self-test kit with mobile support, that was conceived for easy local production and assembly.
Design, says Sergio, is “how it works” not “how it looks”. When we talk about design as a future shaping discipline, you have to understand people and their behaviour. We don’t call this testing, but verification, as testing implies standing out of the activity.
The secret ingredient to it all is empathy. People-centred design goes beyond usage or consumption. It is also about culture and seeing people how people react to things within their culture.
Technology in this context is just a material to sketch with.
James Auger is a partner in the critical design practice Auger-Loizeau whose projects explore the role of technology as a mediator and modifier of the human experience in both contemporary and future societies. He teaches on the Design Interactions course at the Royal College of Art in London and is currently undertaking a design practice based PhD looking into the role of robots in the home environment.
James talks about another way of approaching design. Some call it critical design, others discursive or speculative design. By removing the commercial content, we are free to dream and to see things in a slightly different way than they are done at the moment.
The mibEC was an audio tooth implant that looked at the ramifications of biotechnology. This implant, which was positioned as a real product, could be inserted during normal dental surgery and would give you superhuman capabilities. It gathered a huge amount of press attention and was voted as best invention of 2002 by Time Magazine (who never talked to James).
At Medialab Europe, Auger-Loizeau critiqued our immersive use of mobile technology, and created the IsoPhone, an immersive environment for deep social conversation. The 40 to 50 people that tried it at Ars Electronica all said it really changed the way they thought about telecommunications.
Now they are working on a new provocative, discussion-generating project: the carnivorous domestic entertainment robots, that explore the idea of evolution, value and aesthetics.
All these robots are based on microbial fuel cells, which turns organic matter into electrical potential.
What kind of services exist in real life environments that do that that could inspire our designs? Many people own a vivarium, where they feed real life animals to other animals.
James and Jimmy (Loizeau) developed a series of prototypes taking this idea to the extreme, such as the Flypaper Robotic Clock, the Lampshade Robot, the Fly Stealing Robot, the UV Flykiller Parasite Robot, and the Coffee Table Mousetrap Robot.
Anab Jain (blog | website) is an independent designer and film maker. She likes to tell speculative stories of possible near futures at the intersection of the technological and sociological. She also likes to make these stories tangible by using design objects as props and narratives. Most of all, she likes to play with tomorrow by engaging with people in every possible way. Until recently she was design lead on a project at Microsoft Research Cambridge, which attempted to rethink notions of machine intelligence by developing product and service scenarios around biotechnology and RFID. Currently she works as a service and interaction designer at Nokia Design in London, while developing her emerging design practice ‘Superflux’.
Anab Jain’s talk, entitled “Learning to play with Tomorrow“, was according to me (together with Bill Thompson – see below), one of the best of this conference.
She talked about design futurescaping, which is using design methods like storytelling, experience prototyping, making scenarios tangible, and talking to people on a daily basis, to influence how our near future will turn out.
Anab started off with referring to some historic examples of designers for whom the process of sketching has been hugely influential in their thinking, and allowed them (and us) to think outside of the box.
Two projects Anab worked on in the recent past illustrate this new way of thinking.
“The future of work“, a project for Colebrook, Bosson & Saunders, a product design and office furniture company, explored the nomadic nature of work in contemporary life. The client wanted an open-ended project, that created new ways of thinking about the future of work, and opened up new spaces for product innovation. They were particularly interested in the home worker, the nomadic worker and the office worker, and in the demographic of the elderly worker.
Anab decided that the best way to find out what this future would be was to put these people in the future, and she created personas which she projected fifteen years into the future. She invented new jobs for them and placed them in a fictional space, which she called Little Brinkland. By having a new job, they needed new work places, new products and new services, which Anab chronicled about. Many practical service ideas and scenarios came out of this project.
The other project she talked about was loosely titled “Rethinking machine intelligence” (a.k.a. Life and Death in Energy Autonomous Devices and Objects Incognito), a project done in collaboration with Alex Taylor at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.
The group at Microsoft Research that Anab Jain was part of was quite critical of smart homes of the future, simply because the way intelligent machines work may change drastically. Their concept was that the everyday ideas of intelligence are not fixed, but are active in the world. Anab designed a small number of interventions that can show how material things are imbued with intelligence. Perhaps we can even start thinking of new objects and new kinds of computing machines.
To explore better what intelligence means, she designed four objects, the Gubbins, that are mini single-track robots. They are storytelling devices that can be situated through scenarios in people’s everyday lives, and are meant to get people think about ‘smart objects’ in the home.
One of the ideas that came out of the research is that people associate intelligence with living things. This brought up the question how to embed this quality of life, of biological “livingness”, in everyday objects.
So they created the Eco Board, which is an autonomously powered robot, which powers itself. This was then further iterated in objects that are made of sugared and powered things in our homes, but had a fixed lifespan, and in a big radio that can live forever as long as you feed it.
Open stage talk: Fabian Kalker and Felix Koch
In five minutes Felix and Fabian went through their wittily called presentation “Who has no knife may not eat pineapples. An off-topic tour d’horizon on the literacy of cutting“, and shared their insights about cutting-culture ( and the most memorable/painful experiences acquiring it ).
This pure and simple user experience presentation was for many in the audience one of their favourites. A must to see on video.
Open stage talk: Bill Thompson
Bill Thompson is a UK technology critic and commentator and his talk, entitled The death of privacy and why we should welcome it., was just marvellous, bringing together philosophical concepts with the mundane tasks of dealing with privacy on Twitter, in a series of thought-provoking questions.
The enlightenment idea of privacy is breaking apart under the strain of new technologies, new social tools, new practices, new ways of seeing things.
Bill thinks that instead of worrying about it, we should embrace it as an opportunity to rethink what we understand by ‘personality’, and perhaps even to find new ways of being human.
how we engage and interact with others and where the boundaries can be put between the public and private, because those of us who live our lives in the open are the avant-garde: we can take on those who believe in the old truths, and we can a find way to live in the new world.
Every Twitterer, Tumblr, Dopplr or Brightkite user at Lift is sharing more data with more people than even the FBI under Hoover or the Stasi at the height of its powers could have dreamed of. And you are doing it voluntarily, willingly, because you are hoping to benefit in a variety of ways. You believe that this unwarranted disclosure will in the end produce some public good, or even some private benefit.
Those of us who are ahead of the curve when it comes to the adoption and use of technologies that undermine the old model of privacy, should start thinking about what it means.
We can offer advice and support to those who might be less happy to have their movements, eating habits, friendships and patterns of media consumption tracked and made available to all.
We can begin to explore what it might be like to be a post-private human, or perhaps a human in recovery from the stultifying burden of privacy.
Bill Thompson is telling the “great God Google” everything about himself, and has no expectation that that data is or will remain private.
The reason he objects to the encroachment of the database state is because he is aware of the power that the asymetrical relationship gives the state at the moment.
Yet to some extent the power only exists because we believe there is a border between public and private. But this only matters if we believe in the individuals, if we believe in people that have behaviours, characteristics and personalities instead of accepting that each one of us is simply a contingent set of responses to stimuli, that we are defined by the people and situations around us.
The idea of the monolithic personality is in fact a mistake. We do not exist in the sense that we think we exist, and therefore we do not require privacy in the sense that we currently think about it. It is a necessary illusion.
We have a legal framework that is based on assumptions of individuality, existence and personality, that encourages us to draw lines. Bill Thomson is not sure those lines should be drawn any more.
We need to think about it again. The technologies we have around us now are challenging the enlightenment way of thinking, and what it means to be a human being at all. We have the option now of taking the big risk of living life in the open, and to embrace it. Privacy is over already.
This will not work for everyone. Some will suffer. That may be the price we have to pay for finding a new enlightenment, a digital enlightenment, that is far more powerful and important even than the first enlightenment was. But in order to do we have to get over the idea of privacy.