Creepy Technology

For our final project, So-Hee and I decided to create a collection of gifs that depict little snippets of technological scenarios that highlight certain fears we have with technology. While all the gifs capture some genuine fear we have with technology, some of the gifs appear to be more comically fantastically than others. We thought humor would be an interesting component in making these technological fears approachable and relatable but also instill an erie undertone of concern as well. We chose to encompass our gifs in a social media campaign called Creepy Technoloy that people can follow and spread online.

Our aim is to remind people that we sometimes forget to think about the implications that technology has. What does it mean that Facebook has our faceprint? What does it mean that uber is working on creating autonomous vehicles to replace drivers? As our Facebook “About” section states: “There are daunting facts about technology that creep up on us. These gif serve as reminders that we are not always aware of what kinds of things surround us. Are these fears rooted in legitimacy….or are they falsified fictions?” We hope that Creepy Technology will uproot the discussion that tends to be overlooked with technology. 

The following are the social media platforms we have used to house our campaign Creepy Technology:

  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/creepytechnology/timeline?ref=page_internal
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/Creepy_Tech?lang=en
    Twitter username: Creepy_Tech
  • Instagram: https://instagram.com/creepytechnology/
    Instagram username: creepytechnology
  • hastags: #creepytech, #techfears
  • buzzfeed
    We created a fake buzzfeed article to demonstrate the collection of our gifs:

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Futurestition: Aya & So-Hee’s Design Fiction Final

Presentation: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1nhZtiz9PehivLelj1oY0H6KWZZK6oKB37zT68je5b9A/edit?usp=sharing

Context: Superstitions of the past are based on historical and religious fears that are no longer taken seriously today. And yet, some still engage in these little acts that aimlessly support these fears (i.e. some avoid walking under a ladder, some blow away fallen eyelashes for good luck etc.) It is almost comical that these little acts were once rooted in serious matters.

Goal: Our goal is to manifest fears that we currently have today into a collection of gifs to be presented to an audience of the future in a comical/mocking fashion. We wanted to focus on technological fears (i.e. mistrust of AI, privacy and security concerns online, technological implications of healthy human-to-human relationships, etc). While these are genuine concerns that people have today, in the future they may seem silly and naive.

DeliverableWe would like to manifest our design fiction work into the form of an interactive website of gifs that depict “futurerstitions” into a flashcard format. These cards will also be printable to serve as a keepsake. The aesthetic style of these dynamic gifs will verge of cartoonish and cute-sy to embody how a future generation might view our contemporary fears as comical and naive. (reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR2EpS0jw)

Specialized Reflection and Trust

1. How can design fiction “support public dialogue about emerging technologies”?: I think that design fiction can support public dialogue through the combined forces of an effective narrative as well as a constructed opportunity for reflection; a moment that will cause/encourage an individual to analyze and reflect on the implications of that technology on their own specific lives. I also think colloquial critique of these narratives is an important element of public dialogue as well. Writings like Vanhemert’s on her, is something that comes to mind. Ideally, if design fiction can allow people to feel that they are capable of offering their opinions without the feeling of being versed in the field of “design fiction”, then public dialogue about such futures can flourish. That is why I think that when people have the opportunity to draw on their own lives as a canvas for design fiction, it is most effective in on-boarding the public to discuss such technologies.

2. Which methodological features of mediated scenarios are most important to consider?: Trust. Although we have often discussed in class our apprehension with workshops and the effectiveness of stark structure of future building practices, one of the most compelling points mentioned in the text about the reasons for or the intentions behind such methodologies was Selin’s notion of trust. Selin states that what is lacking and hard to attain in scenario building is the trust in being vulnerable in oneself, trust in knowing there is no mistake, and finally trust within a group that it is okay to veer toward the illogical. Such scenario planning and fiction prototyping workshops provide the safety net that allows the creators to be bold and trusting in one another through the process of materializing the invisible. Similarly, this trust must be on the viewers side as well. Viewers/the public must be trusting in each other that a retort does not need to be in favor or against/ right or wrong.  Instead, viewers should trust that these scenario serve as a point to be critical of the direction in which we invest in our future and not a prediction.

Overall, I thought the notion of scenario planning under the guise of fiction prototyping was an interesting concept especially on how constructing scenarios “serve as a way of a method for turning the unknown into a resource for strategic planning.”

The future of Body-Mod

History has show us that there have been some unique body modification trends symbolizing cultural traits. In China, for example, feet binding in women was extremely common due to the fact that petite feet were considered an extreme form of beauty. Similarly, lip plates in certain African cultures symbolized oratory excellence and often times many chiefs of high standing would have larger plates to signal respect and command. And in Samoa, their traditional tattooing process called Pe’a, had stood for a symbol of courage, signifying the degree of pain a man must go through during the tattooing process.Today, several of these historical and cultural trends have influenced the way we use and change our bodies.

Examples of Present/Cultural Body Modification Trends:

Artboard 1Artboard 2

For my projected future, I created a world where similar body modifications trends occur in the future. I envisioned that there is a trend in the future where people will modify their bodies to implant technology in a clearly visible fashion. In this world in the 2030s, technology has become increasingly compact and flexible to the point where microprocessors and computers are small enough to fit into our contact lenses. Having computer aided technology integrated into the human body can be unobtrusive and barely visible to the outside world. Things like health detection sensors and adrenaline processor chips can be implanted into the human body to notify any detection of illness or even boost up immune systems on demand. All such technology remain unseen to the outside world. Contrastingly, in the 2030s, a new trend has emerged where visibly revealing the technology within people’s body has become a popular body modification style.

The following is the world I have created of Vizi-Trans:

In the 2030s, there is an embrace of the chunky technology of the past. This style initially started as a DIY movement in the 2020s, when those who could not afford such seamless trans-human technology, would build processors on their own and implant them into their own bodies. Underground “implanters”, would scalpel and sew older and larger non-flexy processor chips right underneath people’s skin. This DIY underground computer implementation was at times dangerous as some would die of infections or in-proper procedures. Eventually, trans-human technology became affordable and more and more people could seamlessly integrate micro-computers and sensors with little modification and easy body integration. However, the initial DIY trans-human movement then grew and developed to an style that has now embodied a standard of beauty known as Vizi-Trans. Vizi-Trans (visible trans-human technology enthusiasts), is the style where computer parts are integrated underneath the skin but made intentionally visible though the skin. This outward expression of technology has come to mean a symbol of technological pride. Several Vizi-Trans parlors have emerged in the recent years and a great majority of the younger demographic have adopted this look. The shock factor of this aesthetic is something that is very important to Vizi-Trans as they openly desire to pay homage to the initial DIY trans-human enthusiasts, but more importantly they desire the visual association that Vizi-Trans has with technology in the human form.

“Vizi-Trans is a statement. A statement telling the world that we aren’t afraid to reveal our technology, that we love being human but we embrace our technological attributes. Why hide our boosters, why hide our equal brethren of computer aided technology. Those who prefer Seamless are ashamed, ashamed to be trans-human.”

This is a declaration of a proud Vizi-Trans who was getting her third Vizi-Trans installation on her stomach. Whether or not this trend will last remains uncertain, however it is undoubted that it has certainly become a noticeable style.

body_modbody_mod2

Hybrid Intimacy

I thought the article was a good read. I particularly liked the part where he refers to the technology in the Her world as glass, where it is invisible and yet visible. Unlike Her, most futuristic films are films where gadgets “scream their sophistication.” And that is what makes Her a unique film that set in the future, that does not gear toward the typical sci-fi gadget centered  laser-gun action, but rather is a film about our relationships with technology in the future. To a subtle degree, I disagree with Venhemert on his point that the Her world is a place where technology has receded. Receded in the sense that yes there aren’t flashing build-boards and Bugatti looking self-driving cars, but it has not receded in the sense that people have embraced technology as something as necessary as air, and a legitimate component in their intimacy. It has become seamless to the point where intimacy, love, and connectivity is accepted through technological means regardless of whether a human is a receiver or participant on the other end. I found this quite fascinating and beautiful about the film; the embrace to a point where a person values technological experience as real as they chose to feel. Like Theo, having a relationship with his OS, it was incredibly real to him. And at the end when the two part, he grew from his very relationship due to the value that he gave it, making it as real as any other. So essentially, this is the opposite of receding technology, but in fact is a integration of technology to a quite wonderfully extreme degree.

Another point I wanted to make is that overall, these sort of hybrid tech/human relationships are frequent in the film. Examples like the computer-aided letters Theo writes, the sex-talk computer voice, and the OS/human/human three way, are all examples of hybrid interactions where there is humanness and tech fused into one new experience/interaction. And so when Venhemert says all these technologies are becoming more human, while I agree with that mostly, there is also a little part of this future that embraces technology as not human at all. For example, in the three-way, the external human woman involved, wanted to act and perform like a vessel for this technological love. This is physically impossible with a person but possible with technology, and this ability is something that excited this human woman. This is an example where I feel technology is embraced for being technology, and using that very fact, is used to create innovate and new experiences for people. Fascinatingly, I think that there will be a whole schlep of new hybrid interactions that open up an entirely new category of intimacy.

The inclusiveness of the word “we”

Tonkinwise’s response Dunne and Raby’s “Speculative Everything” was really fun to read. I really enjoyed the section where Tonkinwise analyzes the use of the word “we” in “Speculative Everything”. His describes and questions how Dunne and Raby use the word “we” and even points to the very dismissive undertone that the word has embodied in their text “Speculative Everything.” Who is this “we” referring to? I think this analysis of the use of the word could be applied to almost any text, and it really made me think about how important it is to understand the implications of what you are saying especially when it relates to ones opinion about what should be done in the world (to put it colloquially). The very fact that it doesn’t include much of diversity and race is disheartening because Dunne and Raby, notable designers of critical design, who make things to propel against futures we are unwilling to drift toward, their very vision is narrowed by the non-admittance of so many other “we”s. Sadly, it has been like this for many years, that the inclusiveness of the word “we” is not that inclusive at all. How do we get more unlike minded individuals to come together to form a “we”?