The year is 2030 and the date is the Sunday 6th January. We’re reflecting on change, as it’s the New Year.
A lot of us ended last year thinking how tired we were of constantly coding for speech and some of us were reflecting on when we used to craft user interfaces for touch – that was when touch was the default method of interaction. When a majority of our design endeavours ended in a visual product rather than cognitive analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning patterns and construction.
It’s only just 15 years ago but it seems so strange to imagine people smoking cigarettes and a whole load of people actually creating graphic elements rather than the few of us that now create, manage and harvest artificial intelligence so that speech orientated interfaces can inter-connectedly learn, grow and become even more ‘human-like’.
Let’s get physical
Also, as time has passed, I have reflected how wonderful the permanence of a physical mark, upon a physical surface, with a physical writing instrument is. My personal favourite being the pencil. The physical nature of the markings are thought enhancing, aiding more fluid and imaginative conception; way beyond the iterative and unnatural technical connection we have with devices (that pigeon-hole creative thinking). Paradoxically, I must go back in time to move my ideas forward. Even just speaking to a computer is not as natural and creative as writing and seeing the words physically. This enables one to edit them visually, making key creative micro decisions along the way, which adds up to a lot of creative difference at the end of the piece and creates deeper human connections with literature and media alike.
Once seeing someone walk down a street silently would be thought of as common-place, now it is just very odd. Our DigiPA is so ‘in step’ with us and is more often than not our key and most intimate relationship; we’re talking to it more than anyone else.
The irony of this is, that in crafting our own self centred, ‘desirable’ interactions, we are truly the perpetrators of our increasing isolation. With the blind embrace of speech synthesis and the unquestioned technological advance, we have taken a step away from our fellow man and by proxy ourselves. This is a giant leap away from our deepest heartfelt desire and needs. We have circumnavigated around arguably the most natural, instinctive request from within, which is to have deep and meaningful relationships with one another. Human to human.
But let’s not paint this as a dystopian future, let’s change this with an immediate advent of an artisan movement – back to touch! Devolve the interactions that are divisive from our fellow man. You just can’t go around making your DigiPA central in your life, without paying a price. The price we will pay – and are paying – is loneliness. We are increasingly locking it away deep down and the fact is, you can bury a ticking bomb in the sand but one day it will blow up. Our society increasingly is showing the signs of this and talking to computers is just not good enough.
That is what I remember now.
That is what we were reflecting upon: My fellow human is a better interaction than my computed friend. He is spontaneous, unpredictable, unsafe and beautiful, he is the interaction that I long for…
Let that thinking underpin our mindset and reflections as this New Year commences. Let’s listen less to the digiPA and more to the speech inside of us.