I've spent the better part of the last five years looking closely at technology and humanity.
During this journey, I purposely moved away from technology and focused on items concerning mindfulness, health, and personal data cartography.
These items are all part of a journey to an existence, shaped by our relationship to our "recorded" self.
In the movie "Her", Theodore upgrades to OS1, an empathetic operating system that assists Theodore with his day to day tasks. Quickly, it becomes apparent that Theodore is starting to have a very intimate relationship with his OS.
His OS Samantha is more than an assistant; she helps Theodore look deep into his fears, his relationships, and himself.
Samantha grows at the same rate as Theodore. Soon, it became apparent that she has become capable of much more than intimacy. Samantha discovers her ability to move beyond emulating the relationship and needs of Theodore.
Samantha becomes capable of a love that is not understood in meta-polyamorous nature, that transcends the needs of being with a single person or another OS.
As everyone around us is evolving into deep relationships with information, devices, and themselves, it's important we look at how technology is transforming our lives.
In a recent webinar on ephemeral knowledge, I wanted to explore our liquid identity. How we have the ability to be any age, while on Facebook with friends from grade school, peers, and our future friends and employers.
Like the movie "Her", Theodore speaks to Samantha and states, "I feel like I can be anything with you."
Note, Theodore doesn’t say “anyone”, he says “anything”.
We could pontificate on big data, social, AI, and every other future fetish possible, and in the end, we are exploring every single one of us simultaneously.
We are awakening to a connected relationship with everything.
On December 23 2013, Marshall McLuhan @mcluhanspeaks tweeted "The electronic age, by creating instant involvement of each of us in all people, has begun to re-pattern the very nature of identity."
The electronic age, by creating instant involvement of each of us in all people, has begun to re-pattern the very nature of identity.— Marshall McLuhan (@mcluhanspeaks) December 31, 2013
Our ability to identify with ourselves through technology of any medium, from a scrapbook to a fully automated life logging system, opens up a profound shift in humanity’s involvement in shaping our relationship to the technology we create, consume and bring to life, and then kill off.
Social media has become the baby teeth of connected humanity.
The camps of people who focus on the management, governance, pathology, automation, and safekeeping of our massive infrastructures of humanity do an adequate job of keeping people employed.
What have we kept running, and who is it serving?
From the cult of customer service to the experiential nature of our products and services, we are providing the very fuel to push humanity into a massive expansion of our capabilities to have relationships with information.
Narcissus discovered the information from a reflection of what he thought himself to be.
There was nothing dark about this, beyond the pathology we created by over examining “self love”.
If we look outward by ten years, we won't be managing technology. We will be adapting to contemplative relationships with systems, most of which will not be fully biological.
What is biological, and why do we place so much praise on being “human”?
Isn’t humanity’s greatest gift our ability to evolve, adapt, and grow?
Is a person with a pacemaker not fully human? Is a child glued to her smart phone taking selfies, less of a child?
To some degree wearable technology is a very simple way of holding hands with our future selves.
By using services like Timehop and Memoir, we experience what I call "Perspective as a service".
In "Her", Samantha says to Theodore, "The past is just a story we tell ourselves."
Is your phone, just a smart device? Is it not a portal to the world’s information at this point and time? Is it not updates from your family, photos of your life, and recordings of the songs you danced to at the Prom?
To fetishize or pathologize our relationships with these systems, or even darker, to marginalize them into "services" will create the greatest schism of mankind’s evolution.
This is humanity’s greatest weakness, to look at change and use nostalgia to strip away the awareness of change.
People move to and from creating dystopia and utopia by referring to the "real" world, as if there is a more human version of us, if we just took a break from technology.
If we just unplugged from the world.
The problem with unplugging from the world is very simple, the world doesn't unplug from you.
By creating a "more human" version of yourself, because you can "go without" tech, embrace diversity by "leaning in" is another symptom of our broken relationship, not to our technology and services but, to ourselves.
There is no more “real” version of you, than the one skin you are crawling in and out of at this very moment.
You are an information system; if you must manage something, start there.
Humanity is the greatest system we will ever "service".
Humanity is no longer exclusively biological, not since we placed the first piece of clothing on to leave the warmth and abundance surrounding the equator.
Moving north forced us into systems of feudalism, capitalism, and, now, attentionalism.
When considering the future of technology, take a moment to consider the future of you.
You are technology in need of kindness, sincere passion, and love.
Nostalgia is hope through the lens of the archived you. Health is the relationship you have with the realized you. Love is the relationship you have with the future you.
Technology is the relationship you have with "us"