Between last week and this week, our speculative object took a rapid turn – it has moved from a physical location to a more tangible object, and we moved on from the vague ideas of “improving human communication skills” to “enhancing the brain so that it could be used to further ourselves as human being”. The main idea came from the tension between man and machines, with the following trailer of the 2009 movie, Transcendent Man inspiring some of the reasoning behind our object.
“[technology] is going to be moving so fast… so astonishingly quick, that we would not be able to follow it, unless you enhance your own intelligence by merging with the technology we have created,” (Ray Kurzwell, 2009, Transcendent Man).
Set in a capitalist Japan in 2030, employing robot workers to counter human labour costs, there is wide-spread fear of the development of more advanced robots to take over wider job sectors in the future. Deprived of interpersonal relations, humans in 2030 lack valuable communication skills and are a lesser option as a prospective employee in comparison to robots, who at least can function significantly more efficiently despite also not being programmed with “human” skills such as judgment, negotiation and decision-making. (Excerpt from our group’s rationale for the final object)
We considered various daily objects that would work in terms of being the item that enhance our “brain power” and human skills:
- Helmets: We brought in bicycle helmets, as headgear were the first things that came to our mind when talking about brain effecting procedures, but concluded that they were rather ridiculous to wear on a daily basis, as the world strive for aesthetic beauty it would be extremely out of place.
- Sunglass: Slightly more subtle, but would probably be phased out as a technological object used in science fiction in the near future
- Contact Lens: As technology moves to a nano scale, this would be highly plausible and perhaps cheap to manufacture
However, reconsidering the stance of body-storming and experience prototyping from the readings from week 8, we have decided to stick to an object in which our audience during the presentation would be able to experience, giving them a solid glimpse into the future we have speculated.
Called “Synapse”, the products enhances memory, prevents infrequently used parts of the brain from forgetting certain skills, maximizes the ability to learn and process new information and sharpens an individual’s common sense, logic and reasoning, as well as the ability to communicate more effectively (holding eye-contact, confidence, etc)…with spit and friction from the teeth. The important thing to understand about these products is that they do not simply “install” new information or skill sets, rather they enhance an individual’s receptiveness to stimuli and overall brain function, acting more as an aid to education rather than education itself.
I found this final product overall satisfactory, with peers expressing (jokingly) that they could concentrate very well on our presentation due to our samples. With this speculative object, we will be able to get an edge over the robot when they (undoubtedly) take over one day.
Transcendent Man 2009, Film, Ptolemaic Productions, USA.
Sahu, A. 2012, 10 New Technology Gadgets of Mission Impossible 4 Ghost Protocol, viewed November 1st 2012, <http://www.engineerspark.com/2012/02/10-new-technology-gadgets-of-mission-impossible-4-ghost-protocol/>.