Saturday, August 14, 2010

Designing superhero interactions

Through our increasingly intelligent and interactive technologies, we are making our lifeworld more and more manipulable, giving rise to a world where humans are directly creatively involved in their environment. We understand now that everything is makeable, if only we have a sufficient palette of resources. Through technology we will be able to become superintelligent, superathletic, superhealthy, superhappy, and according to Dutch designer Ivo Daniel de Boer, we can even become superheroes.

Ivo envisions to extend human capabilities through interaction with technological devices, to make everyday events more extraordinary, and give rise to the feeling of being a superhero. He has made his vision tangible in a prototype for a ball that can be moved around without touching it. All you have to do is wear a wristband, and with specific ways of gesturing and moving your hand you can then make the ball move. Ivo positions this device as a toy, though I see many more applications of this so-called 'tele-kinesthetic' interaction paradigm in the future.

Now of course this type of human-computer interaction is quite close to the culmination of the Western ego-drive externalized. Who, at some point in their lives, and especially among boys, does not dream of being the omnipotent cyborg? Yet I don't think that we should avoid this possibility. On the contrary. It's great that dreams, silly as they might be, can come true through our own creative action. It's only when a dream gets realized, that we start seeing its flaws, after all. So I say yes to these developments; let people become almighty, let them become the alphas of the world, let them do whatever they want and can. The consequences will organically unveil themselves, so we'll only have learned from it.

It would surely be fun.

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