there was a question my old boss at feld entertainment once asked, "what do you think will happen to live entertainment in the future. will this internet thing affect us?"
it was a great question, in that we were already playing with the technologies for uber cool futures shows, the smart home and what would be possible with the home entertainment systems. i thought about the ability to put a tech-cave in every home. i am still not sure if the walls are active screens, you use screens, or before the full brain implant, you wear a heads up devise the projects into your retina?
the approach taken was "how will man be more or less social" if you take away his interaction with others. my unscientific experiment was to lock myself in a room where i could only communicate with external people around the world via video conferencing. i would have only virtual human interaction to then how long i could last inside one space without real human interaction. what would happen to my body, feelings, moods? in the future, would people be more singular or living in their spaces? or would the internet bring a wonderful social collective and need together and insure great growth and profit for my boss and his company?
what transpired was pretty amazing with what and how my day changed. in essence, i was in a land locked space type ship where i didnt' even go outside. most of the time i worked and with the shades drawn to black out when was day or night as much as i could - i found i had a 36 hour day where i would work 24 hours and sleep for 12. i was never alone in the sense that i was able to connect to someone on the planet if i just wanted to chat to another human. while i was highly productive and the virtual social world was nice, after 28 days i said, "that't it, i have to go get a real cup of coffee at the coffee shop"
i told my old boss (this is a paraphrase) , "just like there was fear with movie theaters shutting down with the invention of the videotape, the same will happen with the internet and entertainment. it will just get bigger. the fear i have with the virtual reality, is that people will loose touch with reality and we will get more selfish. you will have 1000 channel television and less social intimacy with people being programmed to watch things from an ambient, almost invisible background controller."
that statement is a bit haunting in hindsight. but it turns out to be fairly accurate 20 years later. the owner is now almost a multi-billionaire, and society is eroding in how we treat each other each day. not a drastic decline, but over time all it compounds itself. you see it, when you get out of the noise, stop, grind some beans, brew a real cup of coffee and just sit and observe man.
but i do remember walking out of the door in the lab after 28 days, walking into the coffee shop, putting my sketchbook on the table and having people around to look at.
man is indeed an interesting character - even if at times, he resembles a cartoon.