future prosthetics

I started out this module with the statement that I cannot draw, which is true. I cam to design and wanted to create images via photography and a meandering route. Without technology (including lead type) I would not be a visual artist. Now that I get to call myself a designer, I advocate for adobe control, as now everyone can use create anything they want trained or untrained, and call it graphic design). I am being facetious on many levels. It is more complex than that and I am not advocating for that. However, technology has democratised all forms of creation and it seems to be going further in that direction with the end game being a direct interface between our imagination and a screen, or sharable medium. Because as with chairs being an object to stave off gravity until we evolve to float on command, all our software, even the pencil, are a means to get around our inability to share telepathically. I am not saying we will evolve to be telepathic – except nanotechnology might allow that.

We don’t actually see with our eyes, they let light in that hits the retina which in turn turns these stimuli in electric impulses that are transported to the back of our brain where they are interpreted. The seeing and making sense happens in the visual cortex, ventral and dorsal streams and limbic systems, among others. This my rudimentary understanding of how we see physiologically, and my understanding of nanotechnology and the Singularity is even less, but I still think that if we could transmit electric impulses directly to the visual cortex, we might not need eyes to communicate.

According to Mary Lou Jepson‘…this from Jack Gallant’s lab at Cal Berkeley. They’ve been able to decode brainwaves into recognizable visual fields.’ She goes on to say that this technology cannot be more than 15 years away. Combine this with Ray Kurzweil predictions of nano-brain-implants it must lead to the conclusion that the only software designers will need would be a sort of brain/device interface, that could take any imagined image and translate it into a sharable digital version. I am sure that it will take more than 15 years to make it practical, affordable – available on a large scale. However, when it does happen, the process of creation would be dramatically shortened. The varying impacts of which are hard to fathom. it could lead to an explosion in ideas, in fact making ideas the primary craft, this is exciting, certainly for someone who struggles to sketch or draw. But what happens to the creative process, the happy accidents, the iterations? Will there just be an unedited chaos of imagery and what will these imaginations be based on if not previously seen work? How does that affect design education? It could be that it is just a sped-up version of what we already do (in both work and education) Alternatively, it could mean an increased feedback loop similar – but far more exaggerated – to Pinterest, Instagram, et al. A death spiral of creativity. It also would imply that the need for physical graphic design would go away. Just like the Smartphone and GPS killed the Thomas Guide, a visual-cortex short cut would mean any directions could be displayed quite simply and more effectively via an arrow in front of our now almost useless body. It is not like we will be in control of the vehicle transporting us anymore. Netflix would become a wearable neuron stimulator, allowing us to watch movies with our eyes shut, and all movies could be the imagination or dreams of individuals. If I am correct about this, which is not really that likely, our eyes would no longer be our own sensory organs, but those of a vast bio-electric network. But again, we are already doing that we cameras and social media. Any post I make is feeding real-time data to a network and giving it information of what I am doing when, where, and with whom. Huxley and Orwell were both a bit right.

What happens with our current technology, does it, like McCluhan believes, become art? ‘‘To repeat, and to make toward a conclusion, every new technology creates a new environment just as a motor car does, as the railway did, or as radio and airplanes do – any new technology changes the whole human environment and envelops and includes the old environments. It turns these old environments into “art forms’

And where is this ethics discussion, just because we can do something, doesn’t mean it should, what happens to physical borders when we are moving ideas and culture through a shared network? Who owns this network? Who polices it? What about thought crimes?

Then again, there is this. We might already be in it.

At this point, it is best to leave that to each individuals imagination (honestly, no pun intended)

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