Living your lifestream yet?

This article prompted some thoughts about this society’s obsession with documenting everything. The article starts rather nicely with

“When I was a boy—I can remember how my Mother would spend a good part of her Sundays. She would take out her phonebook—a tattered collection of names and numbers written in handwriting you could barely read, and re-connect with her personal network—an intimate collection a family and friends. She didn’t create media other than the pictures she took or the video my father shot on his 8mm video camera. ”

Somehow this sounds way more soothing and relaxing than what we’re living now. With these “lifestreams” we’re creating, these social networks, having friends see every corner of our conscious and subconscious existence, pictures, statuses, pokes, twitters, games, applications, we’re also creating an unprecedented set of expectations. “I should post more often on Flickr before I drop off the map” was something I heard recently. These things are starting to sound like work.

Being dedicated at doing something used to be for workaholics. In the meantime we’ve all turned into sociaholics. Progress in society meant we would one day have more time to ourselves:the illiusion of the Homo ludens. But as the NYTimes was quick to point out, we are enjoying less and less free time. So we’ve turned fun into work and are desperate to have fun at work.

There used to be a trend in interaction design of thinking aboutslow technology and creating relaxing experiences for people to have, like slow food, slow travel. But technology by definition has never been slow. Interacting with technology isn’t a slow activity. It’s about being efficient, getting things done, so that you can… hmm… post pictures up on Flickr.

So I have to wonder,will we collectively keep going or will the height of this bubble be a collective “stop”, a global yearning for a technology-lighter existence. Will this be the push towards AI where we literally have nothing to do, no button to push, tranquil in the knowledge that everything is already being captured, edited, published, without us having to lift a finger. Will we actually ever live a moment without having to absolutely, irrevocably, reach down in our pocket for our phone camera and push that button?

Or maybe we were never meant to be totally ludens in the first place.

Blame it on…

I’m a terrible geek. I don’t buy my own stuff. My ibook came with my grad program. My camera is a loan from Matt who also gave me my iShuffle as a gift (which I have forgotten in the washer twice so far). My phone is a gift from my best friend who bought it in the UK back in 2001.

So when the iPhone will come out and millions will start carrying them around and showing off, chances are, i’m not going to get one. However, i’m ready for this conversation already:

Someone, somewhere in 2010 – Wow, you don’t have an iPhone!
Me – Nah, it’s too heavy.

A Day in the life of smart things: 2030

Tom Klinkowstein will be exhibiting a visual projection of what it will feel like in a connected world in 2030, a project he worked on with Irene Pereyra:

“The project, a large digital “diagrammatic narrative”, portrays a day in a designer’s life in the year 2030 and her relationship to the objects and environments around her (now infused with powerful communication, sensing and artificial intelligence capabilities). The project is tentatively scheduled to premiere at the Singapore International Design Festival in November 2007.”

After his well known piece about the life of a designer from 1990 to 2090, I can’t wait to see this one.

Presentation sustainability

I will write more extensively about Luminous Green this week and what it feels like to be in a room full of artists, advertisers and cultural types talking about sustainability but for now i’ll concentrate on a smaller anecdote around the event that links nicely to the recent conversations about the use Powerpoint.

In order to make the event more sustainable, the speakers were asked to reduce their reliance on technology ( projector and therefore powerpoint) and several of them found this extremely demanding. Others requested to present in powerpoint anyway as they couldn’t possibly fathom not using their presentation (one of which was from the world of advertising of course). This resulted in weaker presentations as the speakers came unprepared for image-less descriptions of their projects and I found that they were struggling to perhaps mentally remember what their slides said.

This then poses the question: is that intellectually sustainable? If the content that you might have been exposed to relies on the speaker being able to be prompted by some sort of tool, this I suppose says a lot about speaker’s independence. As a member of the audience, you don’t have to prepare, you’re a white sheet of paper that someone either artistically writes on or awkwardly scribbles on with their hand in a cast.

Had the speakers been told in advance of this restriction, I think they probably would have absorbed their talk very differently, brought cue cards and orated like a priest in a church, or politicians did before technology’s presence, just like speakers used to when people just read books. Think Gandhi (who was referenced several times times during the event) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I think our reliance on Powerpoint has ultimately made us poorer speakers and we handhold our audience much more than it needs to. Inspiration doesn’t come served on slides.