Monday, 9 July 2012

Alone together

I think we need to speculate about shared experiences again. We've gone a little too far in the direction of private entertainment, so that even our "social" spaces are private, walled off, lonely deserts. We need to regain the ability to interact with each other. Not just in online snippets that we choose to edit and release, but in real time, face to face, inconvenient, messy, embarassing, but also uplifting, endearing and edifying. It's ironic that when we gained the ability to reach out to our friends and family any time, anywhere, it only made us more isolated.

I want my technology to enable greater personal interactions. At the moment, we have tech that lets us get in contact over great distances, which is awesome, but when you're physically present, it tends to get in the way. We have little screens and outmoded input devices, single-user interfaces and slow networks that mean we are either using tech or interacting with people, but not both. We need to change that, and we can do so either by making face time our top priority and putting away our phones or, perhaps, by finding some way for our phones to enhance our face time. Right now, they don't do that.

We've been heading down this isolation, filtering, walling-off path for a long time now, so it's going to take effort and time to turn this juggernaut around, and it's not going to be the path of least resistence. If you're headed down the wide, easy road, you know where that leads. You need to do something different about it.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - Recommended viewing: Sherry Turkle's talk "Connected, but alone?" at TED.
PPS - Or just look around you at everyone on their phones all the time.

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