The reason I am not in the old world of using technology to manipulate human emotion and increase profits merely is that the work we did 25-30 years ago, is starting to become more mainstream. Don’t get me wrong, the ability to create an environment that your mind and imagine is a cool thing, but the real question is more about what truth is, reality, and that which fantasy is. You see this more and more in the world of journalism where “truth” might merely be portrayed as one topping on a pizza that has many.
With the advent of computer technologies, I am amazed where CGI software has gone from alias power animator and its cost to operate one seat in the ’90s to what I am seeing in motion pictures today. The problem I have with all of the visual storytelling today is that the story usually takes a back seat to the wow and efx that are possible. It seems like it is leading people on a journey to watch more and more content and stare at a screen. What I didn’t predict 25 years ago was the tiny screen size people would watch with. We were designing large immersive audio/visual spaces, not a small screen with lousy sound.
I can best describe this as when we lit up the control room monitors the other day. Sure, it is not a standard or common room. We took every inch of the space, and it was designed to absorb, reflect, diffuse and keep all the sound away from an area so that you hear only what is coming out of the monitors. When you hear music or sound in such a space, you realize just how noisy the real world is and how little you are actually listening. With earbuds, massive compression and all the other ways to dumb a pure signal down, you don’t hear or see what the people making the movie, song, show or others hear. It is why I loved live entertainment so much. You are live, there is no net with, “let’s do another take” and humans gave you the best performance they knew or could.
Today. The manipulation in media seems to come with political bias that is injected into all the information that is bombarded 24/7 to all consumers. With the advent of social media, you have a lot of people just clicking on like-minded “stuff” that does more to provide a barrier to anything different and broadening one’s horizon to come in. I look at today’s cell phones and imagine what they will be doing tomorrow and how much back sided or ambient manipulation will happen. I worry that people will not even be aware of.
I guess it is like that already. People want their dopamine fix, and there is a segment of society that is addicted to technology much like an alcoholic or drug user are addicted to a substance. I am trying to remember some research notes on addiction. I think it was the gambler was the one oddball case where they did not have to actually get a fix or inject some substance to get their high.
Today, we have a globe taking away what was an exciting time in the 90s where the world wide web was an idea to broaden democracy and viewpoints at a global level. For a time, it really was like that. Granted, there weren’t’ too many people on time, but what I see today is more like a giant nation-state, multinational organization controlling the information and data depending on where you are on the planet.
Loopback into manipulation and will be possible and is already possible, and you don’t get a great feeling of how people will use it.
Until we figure out a solution for human pride and greed, we are merely going to have a few people wrapping up a whole lot of people into a manipulation. The dangerous part today is few will probably realize they are even being manipulated. They will be too busy watching and/or hitting “like” buttons and not asking, “why?” very often.
Just some rambling thoughts as jet lag has me feeling like I was run over by a train. I have been watching the people inside various countries and the media they receive. It is a fascinating and complicated world that probably would be healthier for humans if it was a bit simpler.