Infinite high quality media generated on a per-user basis will erode our shared world model and narratives. Expansive yet hyper-niche culture bubbles forming around handfuls of people. The next gen may only have a few ideas they agree exist, a few nations and corporate entities. Everything else will be content produced just for them, unseen by anyone.
This will be accelerated by high quality ai bots that act as friends, and long-distance lovers. These bots will form life long relationships with individuals, getting to know them in deeper ways than any other person could. They'll create online social communities around an audience of just a few, or one person, reducing people's need to share their experiences elsewhere.
The music, shows, movies, memes and in-jokes shared in these bot based social communities will be generated on demand and entirely unseen by other people, and visa versa. Each person literally in their own world.
And these content-bot streams will be hyper focused to each individual's impulses and desires, giving them exactly what they want to see next. The ultimate fire-hose of dopamine. It will be both extremely isolating and pleasurable in unimaginable ways.
It's going to make the physical world excruciating for these people. Imagine the next wave of iPad babies, but plugged into this maximally personalized system, rather than just YouTube. The withdrawals they'll experience without it will be debilitating.
It's clear to see that as spatial computing becomes more ubiquitous, AR glasses will be used full time, in addition to phones, for an always plugged in life.
's Hyper Reality does a good job of eliciting the anxiety of this kind of world. But, it won't all be anxiety, it'll also be hyper pleasurable for the impulsive mind.
It's going to be the ultimate internal war between your brain's bottom-up processes that respond to raw sensory input with instincts, desire, and automatic responses. Versus your top-town cognition, trying to exert willpower and reasoning to use these content-bot streams to summon things leading to self-actualization.
In that way, it wont be all bad. It'll be an immensely powerful amplifier for the neural pathways you can guide it towards. But our primitive brain is very powerful. And I suspect most people will be swept beneath this coming wave, rather than developing the skill to ride it.
This difference in ability to influence and control these systems will create a caste system, between those shaped by these systems and those shaping them. Training and fine tuning the models is one thing, but using them versus being used by them is another. I suspect this skill will become the primary focus of higher education. Somewhere between prompt engineering, pattern recognition, and being a kind of neural network whisperer, who's able to shape their reality through sheer willpower.
These are the problems with design methods:
Methods are watered down instruction, offering only the thinnest description of how design works. It’s not as easy as 1-2-3. It’s a profession, and it’s hard.
Methods imply that experience doesn’t matter, and that anyone with a card can be a designer. Everyone should be able to benefit from the value of design. It should be a liberal art, one respected and taught with the same broad popularity as literature or philosophy. But as it’s an arduous process to become a competent writer, so too is it arduous to become “good” at design. Experience trumps method every single time.
Methods are overly prescriptive. While some come with warning labels, most indicate that “design should be done like this” and students of the methods are taught that there is a right and wrong way to go about solving problems. I see this when I teach both graduate students and professionals. They are constantly looking for the right ways to do things, often asking questions as rudimentary as “what size post it note should we use?” – as if there’s an optimal way to design, and I have that answer and need to give it to them.
And most importantly, methods make design seem scientific, when it is experimental. Design is not just a directed, purposeful activity. It is also reflexive, as is much creativity. We lose ourselves in the work, and the work talks back, and out of the creative process emerges magic. This is not a science of the artificial. It is an exploration of the artificial.
“There are two kinds of fools. The first says, ‘This is old and therefore good.’ And the second one says, ‘This is new and therefore better.’”