Our planet revolves around the sun and rotates on its own axis, completing regular cycles into what we humans consider the calendar year and the 24-hour day. It is human perception that interprets and measures those movements through a temporal dimension – time. How we perceive and organize time is what keeps us captive of a sequence of time, while in fact time is “now”.
The concept of time acquired a greater meaning as a form of understanding a sequence of events. This is what it is called Causality, which is the condition of knowing and thus confining us to the familiar space ([easyazon_link identifier=”0415278414″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”seriou03-20″]Merleau-Ponty, 2002[/easyazon_link]). Since space depends on our perception of things, the definition of space is different for each one of us, relative to each one’s experiences and the point of view that is used. Hence, space is “here”.
In nature, generically speaking, what seems like chaos, or chaotic with no relation, will eventually evolve and become less chaotic. Nature has a tendency to reduce this Entropy. In the universe, everything works as a system and where seems to be chaos, when systems interact with each other, they will change in order to maximize that interaction with the least amount of energy possible.
“Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
– Carl Sagan, Cosmos
According to “The Correspondence of Charles Darwin: Volume 14” in 1866 Darwin stated:
“During early periods of the earth’s history, when the forms of life were probably fewer and simpler, the rate of change was probably slower; and at the first dawn of life, when very few forms of the simplest structure existed, the rate of change may have been slow in an extreme degree. The whole history of the planet, as at present known, although of a length quite incomprehensible by us, will hereafter be recognized as a mere fragment of time, compared with the ages which have elapsed since the first creature, the progenitor of innumerable extinct and living descendants, was created.”
Baudrillard’s theory of simulation states that there might be no clear distinction between where physical reality ends and simulation begins. At that point, what can we evoke as reality? Everybody observes the world differently, therefore each person’s sense experience is ultimately subjective. Our senses are our window into the real and virtual world and they allow us to experience what we believe to be reality.
Reality is observed by our thoughts and emotions, and as such we were designed to be empathic, to connect with others and sharing the effect of other individuals is deeply grounded in our human nature ([easyazon_link identifier=”B00LLOSN1M” locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”seriou03-20″]Keysers, 2011[/easyazon_link]). Sharing makes us feel like a part of a group and linked together. Our social interactions include social emotions which allow us to do things such as make friends, resolve conflicts, drive a bargain and make morally acceptable decisions in our community. Nonetheless, people coming from different cultures can give us different ideas about everything. The way they interact within their culture can be different from the way we interact in our culture.
”The new computer technology is already changing the way we conceptualize time and, in the process, is changing the way we think about ourselves and the world around us.” – Jeremy Rifkin, [easyazon_link identifier=”0805003770″ locale=”US” nw=”y” tag=”seriou03-20″]Time Wars: The Primary Conflict In Human History[/easyazon_link], p. 13.
From the historical roles, which mechanical clocks played in the past, we can reasonably infer that computers have an equivalent potential to affect contemporary society in terms of time (Lee & Liebenau, 2000). With computers and portable devices becoming smaller and more powerful, and with the ability to access information at any time and from everywhere, we will be looking through a new spatio-temporal perspective – through “nowhere”.
Besides having smaller and more powerful computers, we are heading to an age where those computer devices will have more specific purposes and are apparently hidden from us. This is what is called Ubiquity, where computer characteristics will be blended with the environment that surrounds us, in everyday objects. Those are called “smart objects”, because they can sense what you are doing, or even want, and act accordingly. For example, when someone enters in a room, and the ambient light is very low, a “smart lamp” would turn on automatically. Those individual objects have their individual functions, but at the same time, they can communicate with other “smart objects”, creating in this way new functions. This communication between objects is what is called the “Internet of Things”. Soon, this Internet of Things will grow in a way that every object is connected with each other, becoming alive.
There are two ways to interact with these types of “smart objects”: explicitly and implicitly. We can interact with them explicitly by giving commands to them. Those commands can be given through gestures, voice, and thought, among other ways. Implicitly is when those objects are able to analyze our postures, how we interact with others, our mood, among others, and by connecting to other “smart objects”, inferring what we want or need.
Humans have an innate quality, which allows them to adapt to changes coming from new needs. We use our physical and social abilities through this process. We discover new places, new stars and understand nature, biology, chemicals, among others, but also we make tools, technology, to enhance our living conditions. These artificial tools that we make to change our lives also change us. Although it is hard to predict the process of how we are changing, it is possible to influence it.
Why not take into consideration to design products, which allow us to engage in more complex perceptual, emotional, social and intellectual levels with each other, with products and even with our surroundings such as the natural environments around us? We have always been connected in some manner to our surroundings. Nonetheless, this connectivity can be shaped in more exciting, intelligent, useful and meaningful ways, which will allow us to have different experiences in a ubiquitous manner.
One of the innovative ways to adapt to this connectivity as nowhere citizens can be thought as a swarm in nature, but using smart devices to connect humans with each other. Bringing the skills of others via sharing and collaboration will allow us to address the future by breaking down the barriers between people, ideologies and communities, while at the same time, preserving diversity.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Bessa