Amber Case is interested in the future of humans and computers. She is frustrated with the way technology gets in the way and wants us to be able to live our lives with it as an aid not an encumbrance.
In a packed keynote address, Case told her audience that we become cyborgs every time we use an interface like a mobile device to go into new environments. She followed that up with a number of thought-provoking propositions:
- While in the early days of human history tools like stone age weapons were an extension of the physical self, now we are extending into the mental space.
- Case made an analogy between the way we interact with mobile devices, and babies: we pick them up when they make a noise, feed them and protect them so they don’t fall on the floor.
- Devices are larger on the outside than on the inside. “You have a village in your contact book. The 3200 people in this hall is actually a network of 60,000 people or more.” All this risks creating information overload, something she describes as an “endless array of obligations” exacerbated by the information jet lag: the different timescales we apply to responding to tweets, SMS or emails which could take much longer.
Case is interested in the next generation of location, one that is ambient because it sits in the background and solves problems. Hence she has developed a platform called Geoloqi, a private location-sharing app to help address her frustrations. At SXSW she announced new partnerships with appcelerator, factual and Locaid to move Geoloqi to the next level.
In summary, Case wants a future where “the best technology is invisible, it should get out of the way and let you live your life” and where we live in actual reality not tied to devices. Fascinating stuff.