Applications and Tools, Deep Thoughts, augmented reality

The Computer Interface is Becoming You

Two distinct lives; the ubiquity of an online presence; the decreased attention paid to our physical self. Our physical bodies are becoming our avatars.

These are the key talking points in a think-piece written by Mark Rolston, the Chief Creative Officer at San Fransisco’s Frog Design, published at Forbes as part of its “Life in 2020″ series.

Rolston makes the case that “what’s profound is that this new self can take on an outsized importance and fidelity,” a marked change from when our ’second lives’ outside of physical reality consisted, historically, mostly of writing:

Most of us know people in these digital worlds that we have never met. Yet we feel as if we know them and are connected to them. The balance between these two lives is rapidly shifting as technology offers ever-richer second life experiences.

He drills down to the presumption that the massive changes in the next 10 years – the distance between humans and computer interfaces continuing to shrink – will be reliant on the widespread acceptance of the touch screen. He says, in somewhat obtuse language, that rather than interfacing with a computer “on its terms,” touch screens will enable the computer “to understand and interact with us in our world.”

As proof, he cites Project Natal’s ability to look into our living rooms and our ability to control Natal without any devices. He also cites his own company’s AirStrip product, which beams information to a doctor or nurse’s smart phone as it remotely monitors a patient. He also cites augmented reality – layers on top of computer screens – as another significant shift in the computer/human interface, and concludes with this:

Fundamentally these changes represent not only evolutions in computing, but changes in us–in our notion of what it means to be human. 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.


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