Musings on designing experiences & (re)engineering complexity

Jul 2019

Future Isn’t Far Enough

New headlines, not faster ones

Some years ago, attempting to take more control over an online footprint, decided to put an experimental mobile Web server onto a low-end smartphone. It worked really well. Why would someone do that? Or year, or maybe less, before that there was a video by the largest phone manufacture at the time. In that video they talked about, they actually just showed, there was very little text, and I’ll be in that lifestyle where the mobile device transformed itself into what the user need it right at that moment. From that, came a small group — very, very far inside of that company, who took the all powerful tooling which makes web servers tick, and fit it all into a phone. That was the type of future headline I never read before but wanted to be living within immediately.

Before sitting down to compose this, attended a presentation on the future of computing. As the person talked about what he envisioned the future of computing looks like, I wondered where his reference point came from. When he talked about blockchain, he neglected to mention the very public ledger his employer was already building. When he spoke about using voice to design applications, there was no pointing to JAWS or even Apple’s recently demoed voice control feature for iOS13. When he spoke of sensors and cameras which could infer meaning, there was only “it will do this,” not “here’s how we design ethical constraints around the inherent bias of machines primary senses.” There was only the tropes of current and past news — and to be honest, a future already living with two connected rings and a pair of connected glasses on my person now. His future wasn’t far enough.

Attended that talk with the expectation of hearing something, learning something, perhaps even just a perspective not heard before. But the future to some people, is the past to others. For some, the future is faster horses. For others, the future is a protopian canvas compromised of languages long forgotten, scribbled by senses finally given a chance to be exercised. A future which goes further invites the reality of a different floor — not just a “more” floor or an invasive one. It creates a language more than it extends an existing one. Yes, it augments  —  but it also alleviates and alternates. Going further means that we intentionally disinvite ourselves from owning the narrative — and decide that those with a newer native capacity drive, model, build, regulate, and reproduce.

Some days before, a conversation sparked because of (as was stated) “a clearly different understadning of how to use an iPad.” The person was not just intrigued, but wanted to know why they did not understand-for-use the same technology they had in their hand. As with a current client, this turned into a “what kind of present can Avanceé help you envision with what’s in your hands now?” For them, it was like asking them, “do you want the future right now, or later?” Our sessions start with the future being further than what they’d been working towards but not outside of their hands’ ability to grasp.

There’s something to be said about anchoring the future in what’s understood about the present. But, if you push out a bit further, you just might reveal something about the future which ignites senses beyond simply being stimulated. My goal with Avanceé is to help you push further into that future. Not to give you exactly what you might see from me. But, to offer you a lane, well-within your capacity to build and traverse, so the future you imagine, is also the one you live.

Need help getting to that future? Let Avanceé help you.