Finely-tuned to ensnare us

FFFUTURES #10, Oct 27, 2020

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Whether it is a physical, virtual, or augmented one, all types of realities are real to the spectator's perception. In other words, regardless of the specific category reality falls under, the mind absorbs the information and process it the same.

Be it an active walk in the park, a competitive board game with friends, or diving into a thrilling book, all inputs affect and alter our state of mind.

And for each of the previous scenarios I mentioned, we can also superpose the layer of context: The walk in the park under the blazing sun, a competitive board game at 3 AM while drinking, a thrilling book on a rainy day. The context influences the input.

By constantly exposing our minds to diverse combinations of inputs and contexts, we train them to become capable of generating their own.

When I say "capable of generating," I mean developing two core skills of the mind: envisioning and imagination. These skills need to be put into practice continually. Otherwise, they will not develop on their own. 

There are many different ways to train these skills. Here's one: 

You envision a future possibility, and you imagine the input and context that is not present to your senses. New ideas and concepts will form from this practice.

Word of caution: The ideas and concepts generated from envisioning and imagination are ethereal. They will dissipate instantly unless you capture them. Taking notes is more than enough, but you have to do it. 

Experienced minds practice envisioning and imagination. Even if they can't put into words this process, nor consciously observe it while it's happening, the output manifests itself through writing, drawings, building, entrepreneurship, dialog, empathy, etc. 

Going back to "capable of generating." The most significant obstacle here is the capacity to shift our minds from consuming to creating. Exposing our minds to a wide range of input + context is essential, but having the discipline to focus on creating is crucial. 

A mind that goes all-in into consuming mode and does not switch to conscious processing or creation will become dull and lost. Attention is a precious asset; you need to take care of it and learn to tame it. Be aware of the distraction machines that are finely-tuned to ensnare us.

Consume, process, envision, imagine, create.

This practice is the foundation for another skill of the imagining mind which I'll discuss in another issue: time-traveling.

👁️ Omnirealities

The Future of Retail and Shopping in a Digital-First World

Keith Jordan writes for ARPost a brief but important take on the advancements and potentials of Augmented Reality for eCommerce, considering the influence the technology is changing the way we shop.

AR acts as a natural extension to the eCommerce channels and changes in behaviors brought by the pandemic: Buy online, pickup in-store, curbside pickup, and overall digital-based spending.

As contactless shopping and rich experiences continue during the pandemic, AR will be a key enabler of offline customer engagement for retailers driving towards a digital customer experience.

The three methods he mentions (with an example for each one) are:

1. True Scale Virtual Modelling

2. Try Now, Buy Now

3. Immersive Storytelling Experiences

🔮 Future Scenarios

Indispensable, by Wendy Nikel

Wendy Nikel, a speculative fiction author, writes this 1000-word sci-fi story for The Archanist about an office worker who has to decide whether to allow her company to create an AI version of her to replace her.

The last ten pages of the binder outline the compensation package: in exchange for selling BusinessCorp the rights to duplicate me, I receive a lump sum, which — if properly managed — is enough to retire on at my ripe old age of thirty-three.

Clockwork Wives

Caroline Diorio writes this short story for Daily Science Fiction about androids, love, and a great unique concept: clockwork wives.

You are not the only android at your husband's funeral.

💀 Not a Cylon

Chase Stone, @chasestone_art

Chase Stone, @chasestone_art

Chase Stone, @chasestone_art

🧠 Common Enemy

Teaching AI Ethics Using Science Fiction

Whitepaper (PDF) by Emmanuelle Burton, Judy Goldsmith, Nicholas Mattei about the use of science fiction to not just speculate on what the future and use of AI could be, but to teach students about how to engage with the ethical questions related to it.

We explore the use of science fiction as an appropriate tool to enable AI researchers to help engage students and the public on the current state and potential impacts of AI.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) Governance: How To Get It Right

Tom Taulli writes for Forbes about an often-overlooked process in AI: AI Governance. This article is a very good primer on this topic, giving a high-level view about what it entails and what key players in the industry recommend to take into account.

Next, you should put together an AI governance plan. “You need this before you send a machine learning algorithm into the wild, whether it be software for image analysis, a recommendation engine, or a voice-enable commerce bot,” said Rachel Roumeliotis, who is the Vice President of Content Strategy for O’Reilly. […] “A plan should be straightforward and actionable, including concerns of all stakeholders. That plan needs to be owned by a person and team and reviewed periodically. AI/Data engineers and operations engineers will need to refer to this plan for all projects.”


KMFDM - Hau Ruck (YouTube)

I don’t tend to share music here, but I couldn’t help bring this one to celebrate reaching the tenth issue of FFFUTURES. Taken from the album that KMFDM recorded in 2005, in Seattle, Washington. As Sascha Konietzko described it:

“[…] everybody was pointing out that it should be really different. There are terms floating around such as, 'More noisy, more dance-y, more electronic and less butt rock.'“

Look ahead with determination.

Are you hacking with futures and other realities? Do you have comments, stories, or suggestions? I’d like to hear from you. Reach out:

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