News & Views

Creative Social

by Contagious Team

The latest CS session explores whether technology negatively affects our lives

'People will look back and realise how beautiful it once was,' said actress Jodie Foster about privacy at this year's Golden Globe ceremony. Last Thursday's Creative Social session explored that theme and considered whether technology is negatively affecting our lives. Six speakers took to the stage: Technologist and artist James BridleJ Paul Neeley founder of metaphorical search engine Yossarian LivesMicrosoft Research interaction designer Richard Banks, human social behaviour expert Mark Earls, designer Steve Price and LS:N Global editor Lucie Greene.

Bridle is convinced that it's not the technology that's evil, but what people do with it -- tech itself is a tool, and the human influence determines the outcome. Bridle believes that the lack of understanding that portrays technology's the negative aspects associated with it. Conceptualising it - thinking about it as the Cloud, rather than sheds and cables - amplifies that abstract feeling of evil.

J. Paul Neeley, a RCA graduate, explored knowledge as part of the research in design interaction. The problem, according to Neeley, is that 'Google only tells you what other people already know.' He believes the interesting area is the where unknown areas are explored and new knowledge is created. His 'metaphorical' search engine Yossarian Lives generates results that are conceptually related to the search query, but visually removed, and thus should inspire new ways of thinking and approaches.

Microsoft's Richard Banks researches every-day people's relationship with technology and the shifting norms that come with modern technology. In his research he came across a widow who'd added her husband's mobile phone to his coffin - so she could leave him a voicemail or text him about the football results.

Whether new developments are  universally accepted by a generation depends on a person's age when that particular piece of technolgy became a part of their life: if something existed when they were born it's seen as normal and ordinary; a new technology is seen as new and exciting if introduced between the ages of 15 and 35, and becomes something against the natural order of things when it appears later in life than that.

The next Creative Social event will be announced on the CS blog.