Over the mid-semester break we were to complete our second assignment in this subject, that is, to create a speculative object or scenario in the future based on the ideas, thoughts, fears and speculation of our interviewees. The younger person I chose was my sister (Carol), who was 16 at the time, and my grandmother (Mary), who was 85. This was an interesting exercise because Mary’s interview was conducted in Cantonese over the phone, which proved to be a challenge as there were language barrier to keep in mind while writing the questions. The two people fits perfectly on the spectrum, a digital native and a digital immigrant, and the differences is immediately obvious. Carol tended to answer the question regarding the actual usage (lack of physical object, too slow) rather than adapting to technological changes, while Mary talked about the difficulty in using her ipad, understanding internet jargon and the strain on her eyes for spending longer than half an hour on such devices. She also reveled in the ability to connect immediately family member yet the ability to not see them as they are is what detracts it from the experience.
The scenario I have chosen to develop is in Sydney, Australia, in the year 2084. The ability to interact with other people and objects physically through the virtual space had been an idea that was intriguing from the start, present in most science fiction medium and is a great starting point to visualizing the future.
The above video highlights an example of changing meanings to present ideas. One would simply use Google images to look up their search term in image form yet this video gives a whole new, playful perspective regarding the process, which was incorporated into the scenario.
Another concern expressed by Mary was the learning curve of current technologies, which, in contrast, was not a problem with Carol. I have chosen to address this in my poster through the lack of any important or overly abstract interface in the future scenario. There is no restricted way to control it so the most natural would be voice command, and to an elderly whose eyesight is getting worse and they cannot move quickly across the room, would be the best option. This was not shown explicitly through elements on the poster but I have chosen to use a technology style similar to current science fiction (Iron man being the one that influenced my decision the most), and their chosen mode of interaction is voice command.
The last theme I addressed within my poster was connecting with other people. As Mary’s family is scattered across the globe, the main usage of technology for her is to look at photos of her family members. I have incorporated this idea into the projection of “Jessica” – instead of talking via webcam or messengers, “Jessica” is able to manifest in the room in this scenario and have a chat with the female, face to face. This idea also extends to gaming that Carol was interested in, through the image of the Rubiks cube.
This project provided a very good opportunity for us to visualize a future environment (the previous weeks were concerned about understanding ideas about the future), and it is a very thought provoking process, having to take the ideas from two very different people and combine them into one scenario. I hope this exercise would help in the speculative object assignment, in terms of visualisation or even brain storming opportunity.
Favreau, J. Iron Man 2, Paramount Pictures, viewed September 26th 2012, <http://prologue.com/projects/iron-man-2>.
Google Google Demo Slam: Virtual Fashion Show, viewed September 25th 2012, <http://youtu.be/A-5BIhItn18>.