Fragmented thoughts @ LAX

Written by on 18th September 2011 in Thoughts with Leave a comment

Waiting for my flight @ LAX on Thursday night I tried writing out thoughts in my sketchbook. They’re sort of just fragments, certainly not complete ideas, and perhaps a little redundant, but I thought it would be helpful to document them here for easier reference going forward. Maybe they can help form some coherent ideas when I have time to do my rewrite tonight.


We live in an increasingly technological world. One that is more orderly, more systematic, more governed by computation. Is this what progress looks like? We run risk an increasingly binary existence. But I’m interested in working in the space between the poles in our life. If we’re talking about 0′s and 1′s I’m interested in what happens around 0.37-0.73. I’m hoping to discover the fertile areas of exploration in this limbo land.

A hybrid existence. The zone between. The unexplored new frontier, this time around, is right here.

Technologists rush forward without looking back to see the effects (or the missed opportunities) of their wake. Rush forward to develop faster and better ways of systemizing, quantifying, and tagging the world to make our lives more predictable, like the machines we rely on.

How can we leave more room for human intervention? Where is the space for our own exploration? We can’t ignore technology. But we can shape our machines on our human terms instead of shaping our selves to fit the machine. Humanizing Technology vs. Technologizing humans.

Progress can’t just be about conquering new lands to put up a flag and just say that we made it.  Those of us without the skills or resources to do the conquering can only look around at what’s already here, and seeing what we can do with it to make it what we actually want and how to make sense of it. As new technology gets pumped out faster and faster we need to figure out how to upcycle the “new-yesterday-but-now-obsolete” technology of tomorrow.

Maybe we should call it the Upcycled Frontier. I don’t mean this in an environmental context. So what is it?

The Upcycled Frontier is a space too nuanced to be tagged/catalogued/parsed/predicted by anything other than a human. The Upcycled Frontier may be generative, but not in an orderly fashion. It’s hard to talk about this nebulous space. It doesn’t really have a name. Like the problem that has no name. Or perhaps not so much a problem but an unexplored opportunity for something more fulfilling.

Ubiquitous computing in our every day spaces means our physical environment is becoming increasingly computational. How can we make sure these spaces still leave room for personal and mythical experiences?

What does it mean that there is no name for our shared experience? Like the housewives of the 50’s who felt like they had it all and should be satisfied with their lives, do we feel like we’re actually living the dream? Or is there something missing? Are we just getting lured by the appeal of order becoming increasingly systematic?

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