New project = new attempt to keep the blogging up. No really this time.

The Thematic brief has been unleashed, and we are tackling Cloud Computing – a strange term to most of us, even if it does centre around technology that we all use, possibly most days. Look, I’m using it now!

We’ve spent the last week doing group research (to mixed reviews, I love working as a team, I think we all understand each others way of working and thinking a lot better now, and it actually works.) We started by analysing the cryptic brief, and discovered 5 key themes to Cloud Computing’s potential to change the way we live our lives. Sensory Perception, Knowledge and Memory, Security, Relationships and Tangibility.

We spilt into these 5 groups to examine just how the advances in technology could affect the way that we live/work/interact/behave. Betsy, Rachel and I worked on Knowledge and Memory; looking into the possibilities of ‘the cloud’ storing your memories, experiences – effectively becoming more ‘you’ than you are. We talked a lot about manipulation of these memories (as experiences are often expected to be accompanied by photographs nowadays) or these photos, how this could be used in marketing schemes, presenting fake memories back to the individuals. Alex helpfully pointed out that this could also be used for good, perhaps to block out unwanted memories, or used within therapy. Perhaps lucid dreaming could also be targeted, the relaxed state between awakenedness and dreaming, where your forthcoming dreams can be directed.

We were also interested in the potential for Cloud Computing to increase our processing power, as humans. Being linked to the cloud, we wouldn’t be limited to the processing power of our own brains, our own bodies.We could learn faster, learn more, multi-task, heal faster?

Within knowledge, what would behaviours would develop over the collective pool of knowledge that we would all be accessing? Would everything learnt become generic? Or, as currently, would we introduce personal elements, just as a standard reading list will produce different essays from a whole class? Would information withheld from the collective pool be regarded as a higher commodity, would information be regarded as a currency. “Knowledge is Power”.

Crucially, there is the issue that not all information on the internet can be trusted. Would it be up to the individual to assess the reliability and accuracy of the information presented to them. Is there anything that can be implemented to filter good from bad, perhaps to compare opinions and facts and select them for you, based on your requirements and personal preferences.

Next, as a class we separated into smaller groups to tackle areas of ‘life’ that could/would be adapted with the influence of cloud computing. I have spent the past few days in the studio looking at relationships, which are vast and differing but really very interesting.

I was mainly concentrating on communication within relationships, how the workplace is beginning to become transformed with the increased use of visual communication – aural communication is being used less and less. Perhaps something could be implemented to retain our current behaviours as we develop behaviours in the cloud.

I wanted to think about the future of online relationships, of second lives and the stigmas attached to these. We consider people who primarily socialise on the internet to be, in fact, anti-social. With the influence of the cloud, we will be existing more and more online, not only living our second life there, but our first aswell. Where will the new stigmas be drawn, how many online ‘friends’ is too many, too little? Will ‘real life’ physical relationships be considered as anti-social, as they are not shared?

Other groups described the advances and increased use of online communication as being a catalyst for ‘real’ physical relationships, making them seem enhanced. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I noticed that he more time people spend online, the more subtracted they appear from their actual physical surroundings. Perhaps that is something to research in more detail. It would be interesting to see how online relationships will grow and develop within the cloud and it’s numerous advantages.

I’m going to spend tomorrow going over potential areas of further research, I am to have a direction ready to propose to Mil on Wednesday, with backing evidence. I’m interested in developing the ideas of interactions within relationships, be they tangible or intangible. It’s an area I am fascinated by, how people react and respond differently. How people act differently arround different groups, family, friends, colleagues, local community – how do they split their personality? How do we manage it, to present ourselves in so many ways. Is it an inbuilt ‘human’ thing, or something we have developed as society and technology have demanded it of us?

This link (incase I forget it later,) is a real good listen – I’m particularly interested in the area of the social brain, that which is designed to connect and attune to another. Tune into their emotional state. I’ve always thought of the human body as a solitary place, all of its inter-workings and connections totally internal and unconnected to anyone elses’ body. It’s fascinating to learn that we are more connected than that, like when a group decision has been made, you can feel it, you know it, but it hasn’t been announced.

What I took from our class discussion with Gordon and Alex today was that there are numerous speculations and possibilities for Cloud Computing to follow, so many blue sky ideas, endless potentials … what we are being asked to look at is how these changes could affect human behaviour, how human behaviour could adapt to these introductions. perhaps how loud computing should develop in order to keep certain human behaviours, dismiss others…. Keep it real Kirsty, it’s a great chance to investigate behaviours, attitudes, experiences – it’s what you love.

I’m off to read my clouds book, by John A Day. I’ve always loved looking up at the clouds, wondering what’s going on inside them, where they’ve come from, where they’ll land. I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of a walking barometer, the clouds, especially rain clouds when they really need to rain, make my head hurt and stop me thinking. Are we already more connected to the clouds that we think?

What happens if the Computer Clouds start to rain?


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