Posts tagged ‘virtual life’
More people around the globe own a mobile phone than own a toothbrush. By the end of 2012 connected devices will outnumber humans on planet earth. It’s is an ideal time to ask: how do these tools change the oldest way we have always communicated—by telling stories? As an introduction to this evolving narration, here is the Preface from my recently published book The Tool That Tells the Story.
For a century we went to the movies. Now we’re going into them.
Condition One is an embeddable immersive video player that allows you to experience previously recorded video as though you are there as the video is happening. No longer content with some producer’s notion of plot and character; the notions now are all ours. With an iPad app we become a gadgeted auteur: My Life, the Rockumentary.
“People used to walk with eyes to the sand and water,” using the example of people strolling at the seashore. “Now everyone walks with a device. No one is looking at the sand…. The technology which looked so good 15 to 20 years ago now looks like it helps us miss out on the complexities and grittiness and ups and downs of what real life has to offer.” – Sherry Turkle
We’ve misplaced our nouns. Our persons, places and things used to be here somewhere, but now they are somewhere else. Persons, aka friends, are not here. The lights from our gadgets beckon, we’re skin-hungry and still they’re out there somewhere, at the end of a text or swimming in our Facebook stream. Places like bookstores, once here, are now booted to a virtual there, accessible easily from millions, even billions, of devices but these are not the place—they are access to the place. And things! We now have an Internet of things, a horn of plenty of stuff that is connected to other stuff. Most of that stuff isn’t here either.
Most of us give little consideration to the further life of our digital explorations—the messages we text, the files we send, the photos we store. That is, until something that we thought was ‘ours’ becomes evidence of something else.
Douglas Brush is Founder and Chief Forensic Examiner of The Digital Forensic Group in New York City. The company’s mission is to use specialized computer forensic methodologies and tools for the identification, extraction, preservation, analysis and documentation of electronic evidence as it is used in civil and criminal matters. The Digital Forensic Group provides its services to law firms, corporations, government agencies, and individuals. In essence they devise a framework for investigating moments captured on digital devices in order to provide clarity and ultimately a report of what happened.
As we will see, Brush’s work is fundamentally about the unearthing and documenting of a Metalife. This life is a shadow digital existence with our name and footprints all over it.
“Would you have a drink with you?” the Stoli Vodka ad taunts us. “Create your alter-ego at Facebook.com/Stoli.” Alter-egos are all the rage now that 12 million people play World of Warcraft, and 500 million more have a second life on Facebook. Or perhaps, given the mounting evidence of how we are changing our lives, there’s more going on with this alter-egoing than meets the eye, or the I. We are all engaged in massively multiplayer online and offline role-playing. Is it a game, or a ruse resembling a game resembling a life? Whatever is happening as we evolve our identity, our tools and technologies, this is as good a time as any to ask a few questions. The following is an interview of the interviewer. The subject is Metalife. The Stoli’s on us. Both of us.
“What I am in interested in is how we can combine the two worlds — the physical world and the digital world ….”
When I read those words by Sixth Sense inventor, Pranav Mistry, in the New York Times recently, I recalled an interview with author William Gibson who said in 2007: “One of the things our grandchildren will find quaintest about us is that we distinguish the digital from the real, the virtual from the real. In the future, that will become literally impossible. The distinction between cyberspace and that which isn’t cyberspace is going to be unimaginable.”
A core Metalife idea is that communication tools create versions, extensions, echoes and revisions of our self and identity. As Gillian Raymond, curator of the Online Identity exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery said recently, “People spend so much time online these days, Skyping, Facebook, paying bills even … to the government we are pieces of data, we are a license plate number.”