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Polytopia
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Immortal since Nov 23, 2009
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Jarno M. Koponen - designer and humanist, more https://twitter.com/ilparone
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    Ilparone’s project
    Polytopia
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.


    Every thread sings singularity, together they make a melody...

    Some short reflections and thought sketches (or the micro-evolution of ideas revealed part 2, if you will).

    * In the real-time web perception becomes reality. Information and experiences have to be provided in snack-sized portions to catch the attention of "infoholics". There is less and less time to digest things, to synthesize knowledge, to delve deeper into anything. Or is this just an illusion caused by still undeveloped yet constantly evolving methods, techniques and practices?

    * Intentional + Personal + Social + Real-time + Predictive + Ubiquitous = Your-time Web

    * The continuous information flow and demand for continuous multitasking can become stressful, even depressing. How to make sense of the world, how to detect the signal from the noise in one's own rhythm?

    * Real-time web has been driven by technological innovation. Now it’s time to put human being in the center of things. Continuously generated personal data should be used to enhance an individual's digital presence - making it flexible, adaptive and "organic". Your-time instead of Real-time.

    * We learn about the world to predict the future. We learn through play. We play to predict the future. We learn by predicting and continuously testing our predictions.

    * In the past the internet was about information. Today the internet is about relationships. In the future the internet becomes us.

    * When considering our existence as a whole, "virtuality" and "reality" are united. The border between the two, when it comes to digital realities, remains in tact as long as we will have "interfaces" between our minds and digital virtualities (that are designed by other than ourselves). Thus we are today (and tomorrow) dealing with entities (e.g. companies, non-profit-organizations, individuals) that create these interfaces to digital realities (according to their own intentions, values etc.). These mediators affect the current representations of our multilinear selves (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, WoW) and the ongoing transformation in a significant way. The interesting question is, what are our true possibilities to affect our own digital representations and emerging realities, that is, our future selves.

    * An individual’s digitized and networked existence - as multilinear narratives - is exposed to her own interpretation and to others’ interpretation in multiple environments simultaneously. The process of self-reflection is affected by the individual’s own perception of herself and her activities... in addition to her perception of others’ reception of herself.

    * At first, collective intelligence is an attitude - and then it transforms into a state of mind.

    * Memories of past are fiction, always fabricated. The future is fiction before it actualizes and immediately after it has happened.

    * We actively create meanings for the things and systems. Simultaneously, we create meaning by creating things and systems.
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    The more we can find out about the future, the more keenly we tend to try to understand its unfolding possibilities. We are continuously inspired and activated by our perception of future. At the same time, the future is something very abstract and vague. So, can the future be made more intelligible and more concrete at the same time?

    I've been always fascinated by the stories and narratives. Our collective and personal stories - now available in the realms of networked environments - provide amazing views to the all imaginable aspects of human life. Through these shared stories we can approach and wonder the rich fabric of human life, the reality which consists of intertwined and intrinsic systems, individuals, networks, societies, ecosystems, universes… We construct and modify ourselves through the fabric of networked, multilinear narratives.

    Future thinking is hardwired in our brains and in our behavior in various ways. We react to our present condition and reality by trying to anticipate the consequences of our actions and their effects on our surrounding systems - and to ourselves. Additionally, in the age of networked culture, the objects and systems around us can be seen to react to our future expectations, hopes, wishes, goals and aims. In digital sphere, through our personal digital trails and networks, it becomes possible to map the connections and activities that are relevant regarding our personal futures.

    Future thinking is not always conscious or driven by rational thought. Quite on the contrary. Possible, probable and desirable futures loom in the proximity of our personal and collective center of the future gravity. We might acknowledge the existence of alternative futures yet they remain unknown since we experience only one future (out of the many) that actualizes and becomes part of our experienced reality. In our everyday lives, the images of these alternative futures remain uncertain and vague, even incomprehensible. Would it be possible to make futures more comprehensible and accessible?

    Today, we have access to an unprecedented amount of versatile personal and social data. By analyzing and processing this rich material, consisting of records about the past and present, we could provide unique insights on the future. By simulating the future, the images of the future could be made more concrete, more accessible, more informative and even entertaining. A new dimension of human experience would be created through such a playground of possible futures.

    I would even say that we might seriously need a "playground" to explore both our personal and collective futures. So many times we constrain our future thinking due to the basic routines, unnecessary prejudices or restrictive assumptions. Exploring futures through an interactive simulation could be the first step to release the hidden potential of our personal and collective futures.

    An interactive playground of futures would provide us a concrete call to action - an invitation to actively think and shape our futures. What do you think?
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    Contemporary human being exists inherently in several environments simultaneously; one’s personality is being visible in multiple environments and channels at the same time. This information about oneself is available with or without one’s awareness or intention. On the other hand, different media environments and interaction methods create social spaces where one can observe the activity of others, taking place both in non-physical and physical worlds.

    Today’s digital media environments are under constant change; continuously updating and changing media contents and elements, and their complex visual, textual and associative relationships form ever-changing unique patterns for endless interpretation. Thus the interpretation of one’s status-message, photo or blog entry can vary depending on the other contents that are visible simultaneously in the same context. Different types of narrative patterns become intermingled in this huge dynamic jigsaw puzzle, in which every piece can change in form, style, meaning and function.

    Multiplicity of emerging personal digital narratives

    Consequently, the identity of an individual is constructed, maintained and developed simultaneously in several socially orientated environments. The representation of one’s identity depends on the particular environment and its functional dimensions since different environments serve different purposes as social realities. An individual’s existence and identity becomes visible through observable and accessible linear or nonlinear narratives that exists as fragments or concisely constructed storylines depending on the given environment (e.g. Google search results, Twitter status stream, Facebook activity history, photo blog). The context of a narrative affects its meanings and possible interpretations.

    All the public and private digitized material deriving from various sources (e.g. one’s profile in Facebook’s profile information, Google search results, Twitter’s micro-blog entries, blog entries, the list of material borrowed from the public library) can and could potentially be used to observe an individual’s existence and activities. Digitized information enables the (re)constructing of concise, comprehensible narratives about an individual. When a person is leaving traces in several digital domains simultaneously, her personality has multiple instances and forms of existence at the same time. Consequently, a person can use these emerging narratives as channels for self-expression.

    With all this in mind, I will propose the concept of multilinear existence which means that an individual becomes visible to others and herself through multiple, linear and nonlinear narratives which exists simultaneously in various dynamic environments. An individual can be seen as a nexus of a parallel yet distinguishable emerging narratives; through these narratives she can be seen as a nexus for various instances of her personality and identity. Multilinear existence is layered existence, consisting of interconnected intrinsic narrative elements that exist both in physical and non-physical environments. Through multilinear existence, unique patterns of human behavior and social practices will emerge. We must understand the meaning, value and importance of this new form of human existence as it substantially affects our future way of living.

    The effects of reconfigured existence

    Multilinearity of existence will affect to basic needs and possibilities of personal expression; it will have an effect on sociocultural behavior, structures and manifestations of the whole society. We must be able to evaluate and analyze the environments and channels of existence in order to analyze the essence and influence of multilinear existence. Furthermore, multilinear existence will affect the design of new artifacts in virtual worlds as well as in the real world. As the importance of non-physical, digital realms increases in ways never seen before, the role of the design of these environments thrives as well. Developers and designers are constantly affecting the mental processes of the human being relative to introspection, social orientation, social awareness and social behavior. At the moment, new unique methods of engagement and technologies of interaction are being designed, developed and tested. Different methods of co-design and co-creation are utilized to let the people actively participate to the development of new products, services and environments. All in all, multidisciplinary design teams will define and design the experience of multilinearity in co-operation with the ordinary people.

    Thus I’ll suggest and emphasize that today and in the future designers are not just designing applications, services, products or devices; designers are also designing future users, customers, clients, their models of behavior and expanded mode of existence – the future human being with a multilinear existence. In the future, the design of virtual environments will have more and more impact on an individual’s experience of reality as a whole. Designers have to be aware of the values affecting their design choices and solutions in general. The influences of design patterns fluctuate back and forth from the physical world to the non-physical environments and vice versa.

    I have written more about the characteristics and qualities of multilinear narratives and existence in my MA Thesis FutureSelf: Reflections on a Personal Future Simulation System (University of Art & Design Helsinki). My research work around the topic continues - more will follow.
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