[box]This post originally appeared on the FTMF.info planning blog.[/box]
What does the word ‘digital’ mean to you?
dig·it·al /?d?d??tl/ adv –
of or pertaining to a digit or finger
resembling a digit or finger
manipulated with a finger or the fingertips: a digital switch
displaying a readout in digital form: a digital speedometer
having digits or digitlike parts
of, pertaining to, or using data in the form of numerical digits
Computers. involving or using numerical digits expressed in a scale of notation to represent discretely all variables occurring in a problem
of, pertaining to, or using numerical calculations
available in electronic form; readable and manipulable by computer
So digital means either ‘relating to fingers’, or ‘relating to computers’, right?
My argument: fingers are, by definition, the most digital part of our body. We touch, type, gesture and manipulate our environment (real or virtual) through the interfaces that surround us: a shiny black screen, a keyboard, or even through thin air.
And that’s what digital means to me: the ability to effect a change in the world through the lightest of touch – powered by technology, thought, and action. More on these themes later in the week, but for now I’ll leave you with an illustration – unleash your fingers:
As a graphic designer, Brodbeck is drawn to particular style details, but as a generative coder he’s interested in exploring the role for graphic design in analysing these same details.
He picked the medium of film as his ‘data-set’ and came up with something actually very unique: rather than analysing the meta-data around a film (i.e. from IMDB), he’s using movies themselves.
The project seeks to ‘fingerprint’ films (a bit like the recent moviebarcode site) and turn them into interactive models. The models can be manipulated to allow users to identify differences or trends in the graphics via a sexy looking interface, all of which he’s now open-sourced on GitHub.
Here’s a demo:
Brodbeck defines the project as “an experiment to find out if the data that is inherent in the movie can be used to make something visible that otherwise would remain unnoticed.” It’s a really interesting area for academic inquiry, one which he set out the following goals:
Measuring and visualizing movie data to reveal the characteristics of movies and to create some sort of unique “fingerprint” for them.
Extracting and analyzing information – such as the editing structure, use of colors, speech or motion – and transform them into graphic representations, so that movies can be seen as a whole and easily be interpreted or compared.
Working experimentally and presenting the work both in print and digital media.
A side effect is that the system he’s built is great at comparing films, so as to see differences between originals and remakes; within similar genres; among a string of sequels, similar filmmaking styles or certain directors.
The state we call the “honeymoon period” is known as being in limerance, and there are specific things going on in our brains (darling, when I look at you my ventral tegmental area lights ups with the power of a thousand suns and my caudate nucleusis floods with enough dopamine and norepinephrine to fill a thousand seas) when this happens.
The pharmaceutical industry will cotton on to this and produce pills to keep the spark of love alive. We already take vitamins, Viagra and Prozac by the bucketload to improve our standard of living, so why ignore this incredibly important aspect of our emotional lives?
Worried that it’s not ‘real’ love? In the future the lines between what we think of as real, virtual, enhanced or fake will be more blurred anyway. We won’t mind.
Prenuptial agreements will be accompanied by brain scans which will ‘prove’ we’re marrying for love. Marriage counselling could take place in the EEG/fMRI scanner, with new versions of neurofeedback therapy helping us get our relationships back on the right track.
Love is good for your health.
Once we’ve all given up smoking and we eat well and exercise, what’s next on the agenda? We may be seeing NHS leaflets encouraging us to go speed-dating. We may even be prescribed the Love Drug described above.
More likely, we will be offered more education about love, which starts in schools and continues at the GP. It’s happening already. Interpersonal psychotherapy is an evidence-based talking therapy which helps people with relationship skills. The benefits are improved mental and physical health, which last a lifetime. The NHS is already investing more money in IPT, and will continue to do so.
Love is big business.
There are thousands of dating sites out there, catering for more niches than anyone knew existed. (Geek lover? Got a Stashe Passion? Zombie looking for love?) This diversification won’t continue.
The truth is, there are lots of unconscious things going on when we fall in love. We are not always good judges of our own characters (and we can’t help lying in our profiles.) We’re not good judges of characters of others and we often don’t have a good understanding of we should be looking for in a partner that will make us happy.
OKCupid are doing some very interesting things with the data they’re gathering from their millions of members which finally gives us real data about what makes a good match. When Google gets involved, things will get interesting and result in love.google.com
We won’t need to spend several hours writing our profiles trying to sell ourselves.
A Google spider will find all the things we’ve ever written online (On Buzz, Twitter, blog, social network profiles etc.), then text analysis software like Alceste will scan it and suss you out based on:
keywords (i.e. I mention ‘books’ a lot on my blog)
frequency of keywords (I mention books a LOT)
moods (i.e., I complain a lot, especially in the mornings)
thought patterns (i.e. I can get overexcited and Tweet a lot)
sentence structure, grammar (i.e. I’m an informal writer, but I don’t use three exclamation marks in a paragraph and I don’t write LOL.)
Then Google Love will look at all that juicy data it has about us as individuals:
Google Love will gather an overwhelming amount of data on millions of people and track the course of their relationships. Using all this knowledge, eventually Google will be able to create a Love algorithm to find the ideal partner for everyone.
The Google Love algorithm will be big and beautiful, and it will work.
Marriage, sex and robots.
Most visions of love in the future involve a lot of casual sex (thank you male sci-fi authors.) As sex becomes safer with improved contraception, people will be doing more of it. Google Love won’t care if you’re unavailable, if your data is there then you can be ‘headhunted’ by a love interest. If you were told you had a 98% chance of falling in love with someone wouldn’t you want to meet them?
‘Traditional’ marriage is a crazily outdated concept. In what other area of life would we accept a contract that we sign when we are intoxicated (see ‘Love is a drug’ above) that is binding until death? As life expectancies continue to increase, marriage must have more flexibility. Perhaps similar to a mobile phone contract – minimum of 10 years with a rolling annual contract afterwards.
There’s definitely a place for the robot girlfriend and BritneyBot. The BoyfriendBot version will be sophisticated software only, programmed to send romantic/loving messages and emails throughout the day to satisfy her need to feel adored.
Love is a meme.
That instinct for all-encompassing love from an all-powerful, benevolent, omnipotent being we have as babies never leaves us just because we become adults, so we invented God to fill the gap. For a long time, religious love was seen as True Love. We evolved to believe we’re the centre of the universe and it’s a heady feeling to be told that God loves us.
But now the philosophers have dug a God-shaped hole in our heads, what replaces it? Look at the popularity of the Twilight Saga to see what is happening already. The fantasy of romantic love and our instinct for religion meet in stories like this, and the result is 85 million books sold worldwide.
Stories about love (seen in films, books, magazines, perfume adverts, family and friends) propagate the love myth and make it stronger. The supernatural love meme will become stronger and more powerful. Vampires aren’t going anywhere.
Rudy de Waele has been a busy man. He’s curated 37 of the world’s most notable voices from Mobile & Academia for inclusion in his Mobile Trends 2020 slide deck – a collection of thoughts on where we’ll all be this time next decade:
“I asked some of my personal heroes in mobile to write down their five most significant trends for the coming decade. All of them have been of great inspiration to me during this decade: for their ideas, visions, talent, the capabilities to adapt and the perseverance to succeed whatever the situation.”
Here’s the deck. Hit fullscreen for best viewing experience:
These are my five stand-out ideas from the presentation. What are yours?
Digital garbage collection becomes a (very) lucrative business
Slide 10 / Fabien Girardin / Researcher at Lift Lab
Mobile devices will have sensors added which will enable the capture of local data from temperature to noise and from location to who else is on the room
Slide 13 / Tony Fish / Entrepreneur
Cellular voice dies:
It truly becomes another form of data on the next generation data networks
Slide 30 / Kevin C. Tofel / Managing Editor at jkOnTheRun
Mobiles manifesting AI:
Fulfilling, at last, the vision of “personal digital assistants”
Slide 33 / David Wood / Principal at Delta Wisdom
New sonic experiences:
Augmented reality, 3D sound, will create new mobile audio formats and end user experiences
Slide 41 / Atau Tanaka / Director of Culture Lab
London invited the world to build them an addition to their skyline, in time for the Olympics in 2012. Their request has been answered by researchers from MIT. Here are some details of their brave response:
The structure, dubbed “the Cloud”, would consist of two 400-foot towers and a number of interconnected, LED-filled bubbles, including an observation deck and a series of digital displays relaying statistical information from the Olympics.
A clean-powered entity, solar panels would provide much of the power needed. It is proposed that other running costs would be covered by its visitors – invited to ‘sponsor’ an LED.
A quote from their website offers some insight into their mission statement:
The Cloud addresses our twin attention spans of the short-term desire for information and stimulation, and our growing longer-term consciousness about our impact on the future, and our productive role within a larger harmonious ecology. It provides two resources – energy and data – harvesting both the natural ecosystem and humanity’s complementary cyber-sphere, fusing the two.
Further technical details below, for those interested: