ario (interimlover) wrote,

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more thoughts on Mortality & User Experience

Bryan Zug was kind enough to provide Ignite with video of our talks from back in December. I highly recommend Berkun, Buster, and Maxwell's talks.

I was waiting up until now to post about mine since watching it is much easier than trying to recap it...

of all the slides, with more time, I would've dug deeper on this one...

Mortality & User Experience - Slide (15)

It seems to me that we are on an accelerated path towards a Neo-like world where one would be able to plug their brain into the net and instantly learn a skill like kung-fu. Looking at younger generations, they're using many of the same technologies adults use like blogs and wikis, and I wonder what the effect of all of this increased information intake is going to be on them. Will they actually be happier, smarter, better at what they chose to do later in life or will they be grown-up A.D.D. monsters, unimpressed by much of anything because they've already seen it all?

My generation grew up without the internet, but had little tastes here and there with BBS's and video games, but nothing approaching the volume of easily accessible information that's in most modern households. Not having had that as a child, I think many of us are comfortable turning it off, going on vacation and not worrying about our inboxes, or just unplugging every now and then. Will these kids who have had the net from day one be able to do that? I'm not so sure...


Futurists like Ray Kurzweil would probably argue that unplugging may not be something we should value and that trying to fight connectedness and its effects is pointless since it's inevitable and part of human evolution. While it's true that the cat is out of the bag on this point... I think it's vital that new generations understand the value of offline time. We'll just have to impart this to them over an IM session or a MySpace message to get their attention.

Another factoid I didn't include on that last related post is the following:

One weekday edition of the New York Times, contains more information than average citizens of 17th century England came across in their entire lifetime.
What will that factoid look like 10, 20, 50 years from now when the people of that time look back on us today? How does the human being cope with all of this information and what are the long-term effects on the mind... particularly happiness?

Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice, makes a great point about the paralysis that can ensue from trying to be Neo-like in his short talk at TED using the analogy of a fish swimming in a fish bowl.

If one were to smash the fishbowl, removing all constraints to give the fish absolute freedom, it would flop around until it was dead (like in a certain Faith No More video). In the picture above however, that is most certainly too small of a bowl for the fish to do much of anything besides swim around in a circle. This invites the question: How big do we make our own personal fish bowls? What areas am I ok saying, "that is not something I'm going to pursue and I am comfortable letting it go," but at the same time providing enough opportunity and information so that I can grow in the areas that I'm most interested in?

I've been trying to get more clarity on my own self-chosen constraints as of late. "Letting go" in some areas shouldn't feel like a failure, but more like attaining greater focus on the things that matter most. I know many people are already good at this intuitively, but for the rest of it, I think it's a helpful exercise to get concrete about it...

My personal fishbowl

Some more food for thought on the subject on this blog post and Schwartz's longer Google talk on the subject.
Tags: ario, happiness, ignite, talks, uxp
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