Somewhere along the way, in all this cloud and mobile madness, we have been carrying time machines around in our pockets. Now they are making us anticipative. Will it happen now? What will happen next?
It’s happening because dots are being joined and patterns identified and we are now used to these connections providing us useful information at ever faster rates.
So now, there’s an anxiety you feel even though often you don’t know it. It’s the feeling you get when you have sent a message and you are waiting for a reply. The feeling you get when you are waiting for those three dots or “someone is typing…” to turn into a reply you can analyse and process.
Happiness turns on the outcome. There’s banter so a companionable evening is on the cards; someone’s getting married so there’s slack to be taken up, the pug’s on the run again, the new gadget is on the way!
Knowledge dawns on the outcome – and suddenly it’s #MeToo. Sometimes it’s insight and you learn something.
Mostly though, it creates a shared connection. I belong. I am connected. I am not alone. It feeds the biggest anxiety we have in our lives. The answer to the offer, “Come, take my hand.” Do I trust you?
We have been talking about the effect that this digital journey has been making on our society and our opportunities here in Africa for some time. 22 years ago immedia adopted a guiding philosophy –
that the future is converged and includes both the art AND science, the humans and tools
that digital would elevate our lives to the real-time and in doing so eliminate lag, while infusing personality blooming into a new human age.
In this new human age there would arise in the real-time
a shared context
a shared conversation
a shared choreography
fuelled by the currency of trust and the foundation of community. With the explosion of personality and the efficiency of information processing, humans can now at the same time be a part of many more communities than in the previous analogue era, because we can manage many more simultaneous connections. Because I can express myself at much higher fidelity now and much lower energy cost than ever before. My digital doppelgänger is my amplifier, my proxy, me.
Which is why driving those communities, as ever, will be human conversation and human opinion. And if, in your community, organisation, business or bike club you can’t keep up with the speed of social, you are losing. Because those three dots … rule us now. Until you reply I can’t move forward and waiting for the other end of the connection to acknowledge transmission is probably the most primal of human anxieties. I am not alone.
Until those three dots resolve into data, time seems elastic, time flows around it and is defined by it. The longest time in the world is waiting for three dots to complete so you can continue. But an hour later it seems like you were talking for just a moment. Three dots to data and the data needs a reply, the loop needs to be closed, a human connection needs to be made.
When all the world’s an algorithm, what’s the point of being human?
To be more human. To build the compassionate and kind value system that allows all to apply ourselves to purpose and expression. Our collective mission now is to make better humans so we empower each other, we give dignity to each other, we give service to each other. Trump has been a metastasizing and pure distillation of all the core ID of the past. It’s like meeting a level boss who seems to be the big boss but turns out to be quite simply to dismiss once you work him out. We have been merrily zipping along and thinking Trump was just another boss. But he is a real-time virus creating a denial of service on human systems.
I recently saw a headline “56 memorable quotes from Trumps WSJ interview”. 56! In an hour long interview. You see what I mean? Not three or five or seven. 56! And memorable not for their insights but their world view or deviance from objective reality.
The data bloom like an algae bloom and none of us can avoid being contaminated by it, like fallout.
A lot of us have been focusing on the the building work of Fabrik and immedia and now it’s time to focus on the impact work. On the “why do we do this”.
Now you might have seen us grapple with that “what does it all mean” as we explored the thinking around the possible impact of a team like immedia and a product like Fabrik, if you looked up from your screen and saw a Mindshift.
You would have heard us predict #MeToo and #H&M and the real-time denial of service that is Donald Trump. You feel the change in the air these days all over and in every aspect of life and global events seem to quickening the pace of change rather rapidly at the moment. I am a strong believer that change is coming because people are discovering a voice through digital. As with anything human, that voice is used for good, for bad – for constructive dialogue, for sowing confusion, to entertain and to spread division.
Those voices are rising and suddenly everything is up for negotiation in the coming years and those voices in the marginalised edges are no longer excluded. We cannot continue to define economies and societies as successful because they work for the rich or privileged. Successful human economies and societies work for everyone, especially those without a voice.
Fabrik is just one of a wave of digital platforms that we hope will create the dialogue to build the future, entertain our people and inform our children.
But it is the only one that has been built in Africa, by Africans, of a certain legacy. This is why I am so positive about our future. We offer you not just the platform, but the transplantation of this knowledge and methods to you through that legacy.