Inside the über trendy Shoreditch Studios where the exposed brickwork was laced with a 17 piece photography exhibition about ‘privacy,’ curated by Getty Images, CS Sessions took place to talk technology – and whether or not it is, in fact, Dr. Evil. Richard Banks, Principal Interaction Designer, Microsoft Research, Steve Price, Creative Director, Plan-B Studio, J. Paul Neeley, Co-Founder, CEO, Yossarian Lives and Lucie Greene, Editor, LS:N Global each spoke about how the modern relationship between society, brands and technology play a part in this value system. With more of our lives being shared through social networks each speaker challenged traditional notions of privacy and applied them to our own lives. With the development of consumer technology such as unmanned drones complete with cameras, Google street view and facial recognition software those barriers are also being challenged from outside. Will the spectre of a future with no privacy encourage all of us to be more guarded about the information we share with brands and each other or will our notion of what we think privacy means change?”
Mark Earls, self-proclaimed master of all things HERD behaviour drew similarities between the human creation of technology and Mary Shelly’s, Frankenstein. It’s interesting that the technology which we create using our own minds and tools can fuel fear within us. Essentially he reassured the listeners that nothing really has really changed, even the ancient Greeks were afraid of technology, ‘writing’ in fact; they warned that if society became too well read law and order would dismantle. The fact that we create tools as extensions of ourselves and tools to develop existing tools too, means that technology gradually enters our lives without us realising; but this doesn’t necessarily mean that we are stripped of our moral fibre. Mark alluded to the fact that we use the brains of other people to help in decision making and problem solving and this action of learning and technology allows us to amplify the process. With regards to social media, he said that we are the creatures who allow content to spread so we must be responsible for our own actions.
Lucie Greene is a social media behaviour specialist who spends her days exploring how the landscape is maturing and examines our relationship with these pervasive platforms. Focusing on what our advanced on-line-social habits mean for brands in the future she spoke about our interactions with brands, e-commerce and how we define our own identities with specific associations. The evolution of the smart phone has created a clear synergy between e-commerce and social platforms which consumers should be mindful of whilst they engage with friends online; carefully placed pop-up ads invade our personal space more than ever before, we must acknowledge this change astutely. An interesting observation Lucie made was that users are becoming more aware of their digital footprint, (whilst younger people often go to great lengths to play a part and construct a personality before an audience who offer acknowledgment and reward to each performance in the form of clicks) more experienced users are currently taking greater care to slow down and share less filler and more killer content which leads to a richer experience for all users.
Richard Banks was also concerned about the quality and pace of technology, in his mind traditional methods of research are no longer fast enough and the pattern now is generally to live test a technology instead of researching before a launch. As an interaction researcher he dislikes the cultural emphasis on ‘appearing busy’, seeing it as a negative moral value which has been constructed as a positive identity. He fears that the younger generation who grow up with technology are inherently bad at critiquing it which is true. Example? As a baby, when handed a pacifier, no questions asked, we adopt a habit as second nature. This nature verses nurture concept springs to mind once again, and harking back to Mark Earls’ point that we must be responsible for controlling which technologies we allow the younger generation to adopt and accept the implications on the nuances of human to human communication as a direct consequence.
Steve Price firmly believes that technology is not evil but the impact of it can be. He describes the internet as a kamikaze world of video, gifs, posts, articles, blogs, experiences, technology, comments, thoughts, ramblings, pictures, cats and memes. He explored the effect that technology is having on the next generations and how we are educating them, criticizing the Steve Jobs schools model for using bespoke i-technology as an indoctrinating platform to teach children from. Steve argued that a bottom-up approach would be far more effective in that, if you teach a child to problem solve, create technology and learn code for themselves then you grant them the skills to invent and possibly even create their own version of the i-pad one day. In my mind this is a far more constructive mode of learning, after all, I like 615, 055 others have seen a monkey using an i-pad to play angry birds on You Tube. Surely we can do better for the little people of tomorrow.