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Sight
July 29, 2012 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Sight. Beautiful short film shows a frightening future filled with Google Glass-like devices.
posted by homunculus (86 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

 
imagine a man pressed against his living room rug, forever.
posted by The Whelk at 1:41 PM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


frightening? This future looks great! Except, ya know, the whole [SPOILER] thing at the end.
posted by luvcraft at 1:52 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Some great work, thanks for posting this.

I loved the dossier-style credits too, perfect for this kind of short portfolio piece.

Episodes 2 and 3 of (the excellent) Black Mirror explore some different themes via some similar near-future tech. I'd recommend it as well.
posted by churl at 1:53 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Employers are going to demand access to glass feeds to make sure workers arn't slacking off. On the plus side, achievement every time you click that mouse or pull that lever! Gotta get my achievements!
posted by Ad hominem at 1:55 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very well done. LOL @ restarting the level with another real cucumber.
posted by localroger at 1:57 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


this is the future I want to live in
posted by the theory of revolution at 2:05 PM on July 29, 2012


this is the future I want to live in

Gross.
posted by codacorolla at 2:17 PM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


Actually, now that I think about it, restarting the level with a new cucumber foreshadows the ending very well. Guy doesn't like to lose ... anything.
posted by localroger at 2:28 PM on July 29, 2012 [10 favorites]


I look at the ending this way. Even with the guy working for the company and being able to cover his tracks, and exploit backdoors into the system, the only way he can do what he does is through a technology designed to record and process the environment around it. Surely he's overlooked a log file somewhere or even outgoing full video feed to an affiliated marketing partner.

On the other hand if he actually is the careful type and pulls off the trick he does while totally disabling the tech's ability to record evidence against him, the lack of a record may itself be enough to cause some data mining diagnostic algorithm back at the home office to flag a pattern of feed outages among this guy's acquaintances.
posted by radwolf76 at 2:33 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


radwolf the system depicted in the movie is processing a truly vast amount of information; it's doing smooth natural spoken language recognition, facial expression and body language evaluation, and a lot of context stuff more correctly than most actual humans do. And it's known to be imperfect; sometimes it crashes. Plus there might be privacy concerns about what gets recorded. (Ceiling cat has nothing on this thing.) The evidence might be a needle in a most large haystack to which only the protagonist and his buddies have access anyway.
posted by localroger at 2:39 PM on July 29, 2012


Additionally, he's not that careful if he leaves his wingman app out for other people to see.
posted by device55 at 2:44 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


So, in the future there will still be douchebags and mumble mumble mind control through contact lenses/ocular implants?

One of those things seems likely.

Very well done little film, but I don't like the futurepanic tint of the article.
posted by cmoj at 2:50 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, in the future there will still be douchebags

And there will be no escape.
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on July 29, 2012 [8 favorites]


As an aside, anyone notice a shift when dates stopped looking at your books and started looking at your video games? Recently i bring people home and they immediatly start pawing through my N64 cartriges. I don't let people use my iPad but I could totally imagine them judging me on the fact that I own Tiny Wings instead of Word With Friends or something.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:54 PM on July 29, 2012


Also reminded me strongly of Black Mirror.
posted by hwestiii at 2:55 PM on July 29, 2012


I don't let people use my iPad but I could totally imagine them judging me on the fact that I own Tiny Wings instead of Word With Friends or something.

Clearly you need a stunt-iPad pre loaded with all the 'right' apps which can be left 'carelessly' on a coffee table.

I recommend a weathered iPad 2 without a case. That avoids the hipsterism of showing off an original iPad and avoids the me-too-ness of having the latest-greatest model.

My app recommendation service starts at $250
posted by device55 at 3:01 PM on July 29, 2012 [11 favorites]


An app that selects apps for you, based on interests and other statistics would be killer. Likewise an app of the moth/week/day/moment app.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:06 PM on July 29, 2012


device55, that wouldn't work too well in the movie situation where the house *is* your iPad. Actually I guess the house is serving data to the Sight implants of whoever visits.

I was really expecting them to see two totally different houses, with "hers" tailored according to her profile data. Leaving your own date rape tools and masturbation fodder in view is kind of a fail, possibly on the part of the technology (does the iPad let you stealth your app list? Oh wait, Apple keeps pr0n out of the iVerse, so there's no reason I guess.)
posted by localroger at 3:08 PM on July 29, 2012


Highlighting potential abuses of the technology is a cop out compared to examining the social implications. Security and technology issues have a way of being fixed, at least eventually. Black Mirror did it much better.

More interesting to me - and woefully underexplored here - was what happens if you have this omnipresent technology while interacting with another person. Is that the future - never knowing where another person's attention is directed? Odd pauses in conversation as people shift between attending to physical reality and the virtual one? Would people be content with the destruction of "thereness" among other human beings? It's the logical exaggeration of fiddling with a smartphone during a date, and I wish we'd seen more of that angle.
posted by Wemmick at 3:14 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


Except, ya know, the whole [SPOILER] thing at the end.

I have heard that techno-utopian fantasy stories often end with a techo-dystopian twist. Something about finishing the narrative arc and blah whatchamacallit.
posted by localroger at 3:15 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I understood the ending. [spoiler] Did she freeze because he hacked her Sight system and basically held her data/cloud connection hostage (thus leaving her in shock at the sudden loss of her lifeline), or did he literally shut down her brain, because the Sight system is connected to the human brain? It's way creepy, either way. [/spoiler]

It's also quite relevant, because it reminded me of EyeTap creator Steve Mann's recent incident at a Paris McDonald's, which has shown that a future of digital eyewear is clearly at an impasse with privacy issues.

Great film! Thanks for sharing it.
posted by Down10 at 3:16 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well obviously there would be consultants to spiff up the overlay people see in your home, device55 would be in at the ground floor.. I also think the technology in the video is rather limited, why can't I specify my own appearance and/or subtly alter it based on non-verbal cues such as heart rate and blush response.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:16 PM on July 29, 2012


In STTNG Geordi can see when people are lying, lie-o-vision or truth app would be great. Of course people would just bypass it by wearing latex masks and specifying in their settings an avatar without a mask. Of course, I am getting ahead of myself, I don't know that people will be able to specify their own appearance, at least in the 1.0.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:22 PM on July 29, 2012


What a well-done film. The icy, gleaming irises of the two main characters was a nice, creepy touch. Thanks for posting it, homunculus.

This short reminded me a LOT of Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story in which everyone has a smartphone-like device (an "apparat") around his or her neck that projects all sorts of personal statistics for others to see: credit rating, mood, "fuckability rating," etc.

More interesting to me - and woefully underexplored here - was what happens if you have this omnipresent technology while interacting with another person. Is that the future - never knowing where another person's attention is directed? Odd pauses in conversation as people shift between attending to physical reality and the virtual one? Would people be content with the destruction of "thereness" among other human beings? It's the logical exaggeration of fiddling with a smartphone during a date, and I wish we'd seen more of that angle.

Actually, I thought the restaurant scene portrayed that quite well...his eyes always seemed to be elsewhere, he never really seemed to be present, he seemed very distracted. I actually thought that--their lack of real connection and compulsive scanning for information--was going to be the main point of the story.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:22 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is that the future - never knowing where another person's attention is directed? Odd pauses in conversation as people shift between attending to physical reality and the virtual one?

More like the present. How many awkward situations have already been caused by bluetooth headsets on phones?
posted by radwolf76 at 3:24 PM on July 29, 2012


Down10, based on the headlines flashed for his review when she brings up the Sight crash in the restaurant, I'd guess the Sight system is more tightly coupled to the brain's major functions than their literature normally admits and that while most people don't know it, a low-level takedown is possible. Note that she doesn't fall down; much of her brain is working fine. It is most likely her ego that he has shut down until he can feed it the right data to bend her will in his direction.
posted by localroger at 3:24 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


How many awkward situations have already been caused by bluetooth headsets on phones?

I remember LOLing at the scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise storms through the kitchen ranting into his earphone, and then seeing almost that exact thing literally happen only a few years later via BlueTooth and thinking "Crap, the future is here already."
posted by localroger at 3:29 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I liked that a lot, but can someone please explain how a visual/audio link can create a temporary Langford Parrot? I thought I was watching something that was looking at what the future would be like with GoogleContacts (or whatever they'd call it), which would have all sorts of interesting implications, especially with regard to things like gamification, sensory editing and privacy, which then instead veered off into mind control. I have yet to encounter good fiction about mind control, and that last little bit just killed the entire thing for me.

(Yes, very creepy, but it would have been more effective if he had software that changed what she experienced from the real world - especially if he had looked different in her eyes than he does elsewhere.)
posted by Hactar at 3:32 PM on July 29, 2012


i'm fairly competitive, yet also sometimes lazy. if i can get achievement points for chopping a cucumber, well, let's just say i'll be eating MANY MORE cucumbers.
posted by kerning at 3:34 PM on July 29, 2012


YMMV but it didn't suggest to me that he "hacked her brain" or anything. He shut off her sight (a possibility foreshadowed by her earlier anecdote), and, suddenly blind and with dawning horror, she froze in place. The scene doesn't require any deeper biotech-wizardry than that to work as shown.

And she didn't necessarily notice the app "itself", just a trophy/achievement/etc on his wall, which he may not have even considered – especially if he was only now first beta-testing the "wingman" software as I think was implied. At any rate it's not that crazy; I've seen people in real life leave "The Game" out on their bookshelf as if it were somehow an okay thing for a human being to own
posted by churl at 3:46 PM on July 29, 2012


Where were the ads?

In Real Life™ wouldn't there have been an Axe Body Spray ad to accompany the wing-man app?

That may have been too much to cram into a very short film, but it seems like that would be the obvious outcome of such technology.

I imagine, also, in a world that was this wired (where restaurants provide menus via neural interface) that the height of hipsterism would be fully analog experiences. Candlelight, printed menus you can't read well in the dark, smelly waiters, etc. Maybe that's a sequel.

I like this little film a lot, it tickles the little grey cells. I'm not criticizing - just following through.
posted by device55 at 4:05 PM on July 29, 2012


AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!

That was a reckless disregard for gravity.
posted by straight at 4:11 PM on July 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a well executed film but really the authors haven't fully teased out the consequences of such a technology. Thinking it over, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I mean, in a world of such immersive virtual reality why would people still meet in person? And why on earth would you have a permanent resident? And what on earth is the point of wearing fashionable clothes? And her reaction to a "dating app" makes absolutely no sense in a world where absolutely everything is computer assisted? Would people be less pleased with a meal prepared using a chef app? And here's the kicker: why would people go on dates at all? Why not let your avatar/profile go on dates for you? Of course, that is, after relying on search engines to pick out some interesting profiles that could be used as a data training set?

In such a world such coercion doesn't make that much sense. With the right analytics you could be reasonably sure any such in person meeting would go reasonably well long before you actually meet in person.

Where were the ads?

Actually, I thought the lack of ads was insightful. In a world of such transparency and raw computing power advertising makes very little sense. Heck, the entire idea of people going out and doing their own shopping is pretty silly. Algorithms would select virtually everything for you and at that point advertisements are utterly useless.
posted by nixerman at 4:11 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


How the hell is that system supposed to be receiving input from that guy? If they've got a brain-computer interface, the future's going to look way more different than this.
posted by straight at 4:14 PM on July 29, 2012



YMMV but it didn't suggest to me that he "hacked her brain" or anything. He shut off her sight (a possibility foreshadowed by her earlier anecdote), and, suddenly blind and with dawning horror, she froze in place. The scene doesn't require any deeper biotech-wizardry than that to work as shown.


I thought it was that and a combination of holding her profile hostage - sleep with me or I'll do terrible things to your online identity which seems...rather important to society at large.
posted by The Whelk at 4:16 PM on July 29, 2012


I mean, in a world of such immersive virtual reality why would people still meet in person?

It was pretty clear that Vision vision still wasn't quite on par with actual native vision. And Sight probably can't do touch, smell, or any of the other cues we primally cue on.

He shut off her sight (a possibility foreshadowed by her earlier anecdote), and, suddenly blind and with dawning horror, she froze in place.

From her anecdote, he could only shut off her Sight, not her native sight. She didn't freeze in place when her Sight crashed on the jog, and in that case she didn't have a perverted dweeb leering at her. I think he had to have done something a bit more fundamental to keep her from running.
posted by localroger at 4:25 PM on July 29, 2012


And her reaction to a "dating app" makes absolutely no sense in a world where absolutely everything is computer assisted?

I got the impression that the guy was sort of like a future version of a pickup artist: viewing dating as something to conquer (like the games he was playing throughout the day), only wanting sex, etc.
posted by Pope Xanax IV at 4:31 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


On preview, I'm mostly repeating the last several comments. Anyway:

For those of you quibbling about the technology: the film is barely positing any better technology than we have now. There is really very little simulated virtual reality going on--it's all just displays superimposed in front of reality, not mixing with it. There is nothing in the film suggesting the technology could simply substitute a person's clothing in real life (the outfit-picking software he's using is grainy uses a single photo of himself).

Anyway, great video. I love the sparse aesthetic and how it gets "filled in" by technology seen through the characters eye's. Great metaphor.

Also it was surprising that she was so pissed off about his using a dating app. I just figured that would be commonplace in a future with such close real-time integration of technology and people. At what point does the use of technology in interpersonal relations become unacceptable? She's wearing makeup, isn't she? (ok, probably the answer to this question is that it's unacceptable when it's surreptitious; still an interesting issue.)
posted by ropeladder at 4:38 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the credits: one of the designers scores a 10 in bathing. I don't know what that means, but I am overcome with admiration.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those of you quibbling about the technology: the film is barely positing any better technology than we have now. There is really very little simulated virtual reality going on--it's all just displays superimposed in front of reality, not mixing with it.

The term is "augmented reality", or AR, and so far most AR sucks because actually recognizing the millions of possible things and people you might see from millions of arbitrary angles takes a level of computing power that is still a bit beyond us right now, let alone doing that for literally every object that enters a person's sight. Give it another ten years...
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:52 PM on July 29, 2012


Also thought of Black Mirror.
posted by dobbs at 5:29 PM on July 29, 2012


> It's a well executed film but really the authors haven't fully teased out the consequences of such a technology. Thinking it over, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, in a world of such immersive virtual reality, why would...

I think this all makes more sense if we're looking at a world where this technology is available, but not completely ubiquitous. Like iPhone-level market penetration. The tech is meant to augment interaction but not replace it; people'd still go on dates because the actual physical presence of an attractive person is pleasing for a variety of reasons. The same reason people today would rather date in person than on Skype.

> Also it was surprising that she was so pissed off about his using a dating app. I just figured that would be commonplace in a future with such close real-time integration of technology and people. At what point does the use of technology in interpersonal relations become unacceptable?

It's actually a good question, which I think the piece raises deliberately. But the app's not a "dating app" in the sense that it helps you find a date, it's a dating app in the sense that it makes a game out of the date itself – where the guy's trying to score achievements by getting her to go home with him. What pissed her off was realizing she was a notch in his (virtual) bedpost.
posted by churl at 5:35 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Like iPhone-level market penetration.

This. I have been weirded out a bit by three or four coworkers at the lunchtable furiously and solitarily tapping on their phones while I sat there actually eating and looking at the room.
posted by localroger at 5:40 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of things to like about that possible future, despite the way the film ends. I like the idea of gamification. And if he has the power to override her system, why didn't he have the power to read her dossier and know she was a vegetarian?
posted by crunchland at 5:47 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it leads to less consumption of real world goods I'm all for a virtual world. But somehow I still think humans will be buying endangered pigeon gall bladder powder in 2056.
posted by benzenedream at 6:05 PM on July 29, 2012


I think you guys are all thinking too hard about the technical details of how this scenario would occur. Good sci-fi can be stylish yet allegorical, without being scientific.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:15 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


crunchland: "And if he has the power to override her system, why didn't he have the power to read her dossier and know she was a vegetarian?"



BAN CRUNCHLAND? (Y/N) _

posted by not_on_display at 6:16 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


why didn't he have the power to read her dossier and know she was a vegetarian?

Because he's lazy.
posted by localroger at 6:20 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


To elaborate: He asumed Wingman would know stuff like that and he got caught flat-footed when his tech came up short.
posted by localroger at 6:21 PM on July 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


For those of you quibbling about the technology: the film is barely positing any better technology than we have now.

The reality overlay is believable; the user interface, particularly the ability to navigate and control it without someone right in front of you noticing, is not.
posted by straight at 6:37 PM on July 29, 2012


Also, here is how this story would take place if Microsoft had provided the operating system.

And previously on Portlandia.
posted by Apocryphon at 6:41 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, in a world of such immersive virtual reality why would people still meet in person?

And why do people invite their dates in for coffee rather than just go to the local coffee house?

Also see: how is babby formed.
posted by jaduncan at 6:48 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


...the guy's trying to score achievements by getting her to go home with him. What pissed her off was realizing she was a notch in his (virtual) bedpost.

So would it be okay/non-creepy if he just used it as a coach to help him read her body language, propose topics of discussion, etc? What if the guy has Aspergers?
posted by LordSludge at 6:51 PM on July 29, 2012


So would it be okay/non-creepy if he just used it as a coach to help him read her body language, propose topics of discussion, etc? What if the guy has Aspergers?

There is no way someone with root access makes the fact they have that app installed visible to dates.

Also, at the end: how do they have mind-controlled pointers and selection but require a virtual keyboard? :/
posted by jaduncan at 7:05 PM on July 29, 2012


And me? I'd find it cute if a woman was using such a program.
posted by jaduncan at 7:06 PM on July 29, 2012


Previously on SNL
posted by not_on_display at 8:14 PM on July 29, 2012


And her reaction to a "dating app" makes absolutely no sense in a world where absolutely everything is computer assisted?

it's a dating app in the sense that it makes a game out of the date itself

I also thought it was a little odd that she seemed so pissed that he was using a dating coach app when apparently there is an app for everything including slicing cucumbers. The "arrg, date is game to you?" occurred to me, but if you pause and read the description of the app, it is pretty much just a straightforward "we'll tell you what to say" kind of app, not a game. This would be disappointing, because it means that you basically haven't been seeing that person's real personality, but disappointment seems like a more reasonable reaction to that than rage.
posted by Winnemac at 8:28 PM on July 29, 2012


This would be disappointing, because it means that you basically haven't been seeing that person's real personality, but disappointment seems like a more reasonable reaction to that than rage.

I can understand being angry. She'd started the date repulsed by the guy, and he uses some computer program to trick her in to liking him. Nobody likes to feel reduced to an easily understood equation - probably one of the biggest dangers inherent in gamification, and the main thing that I really detest about it. 'Good' stuff, like personal fitness apps are one end of using basic psychological impulses for reward and variable reward schedules to change human behaviors, slot machines and Farmville are the other.
posted by codacorolla at 8:37 PM on July 29, 2012


No, no you don't get it. The guy is the inevitable result of the gamification of all aspects of life thanks to ubiquitous computing. The dating app, like all of the other apps, is a game. He was using it to score girls much like you would earn XBox Live or Steam achievements. Their society is one built upon constantly leveling up and making arbitrary objectives. If the pause description said otherwise, then it's a detail that was made unclear that viewers aren't expected to see anyway.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:37 PM on July 29, 2012


I got the impression that the guy was sort of like a future version of a pickup artist

That's what I got from the dialog, that, the gamification of the date and her reaction, when she said "just my luck, a friggin' gauge on me".

So would it be okay/non-creepy if he just used it as a coach to help him read her body language, propose topics of discussion, etc? What if the guy has Aspergers?

Unfortunately, I think it would be just as creepy, but this guy had it on a wall of "Achievements", which is unflattering.
posted by mhoye at 8:58 PM on July 29, 2012


No, no you don't get it. The guy is the inevitable result of the gamification of all aspects of life thanks to ubiquitous computing.

The thing that I found most uncomfortable about this was how relatively disempowered and either naive or just badly under-equipped the woman was. I have a hard time believing, for example, that in this magical wetware future a woman would go on a date with a stranger without a comprehensive personal security audit first.

I mean, you don't let your kid go on a date without making sure they've run nmap and the current metasploit suite against their own 'ware first, right? That's just common sense, everybody knows that.
posted by mhoye at 9:06 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


that in this magical wetware future a woman would go on a date with a stranger without a comprehensive personal security audit first.

I thought the dinner conversation told us he's kind of super-user/early adopter with benefits from working at Sight. He actions are supposed to be read as strange cause most people don't use the tech like he does or know how to hide it better. Creepy guy is the vanguard of how the Sight technology will evolve but the cultural immune system hasn't caught up yet. Which is an impressive amount of shading to put int 7 minutes.
posted by The Whelk at 9:12 PM on July 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


How the hell is that system supposed to be receiving input from that guy? If they've got a brain-computer interface, the future's going to look way more different than this.

I thought it would be via subtle eye movements, as in Rainbows End. I figured that's why he has dark circles all around his eyes—all those eye movements have a cost.
posted by limeonaire at 9:35 PM on July 29, 2012


WHOA...

Go to 5:21. (Sorry, no way to link time on Vimeo AFAIK) "Alcohol level: 65%. OPTIMAL."

How is it okay if this just happens, as it does all the time, but not okay if guy is totally conscious of the exact same thing happening?

I'd love to see the same video from her perspective, where she's using the "WingGirl" app...
posted by LordSludge at 9:37 PM on July 29, 2012


I'd find it cute if a woman was using such a program.

Yeah, but there's a whole lot of assumptions and privilege packed into that statement. What if it was somebody you found utterly unattractive? (e.g., "20%")
posted by LordSludge at 9:44 PM on July 29, 2012


I thought it would be via subtle eye movements, as in Rainbows End.

That seems to be what they were going for with the buttons on the interface and the one-"finger" typing at the end. And that seems possible: the software could track your eye movements and interpret a glance at a button as having pressed it, all the while moving the HUD so that you have the illusion that it's stationary relative to your eyeball.

But those kinds of eye movements wouldn't be subtle if you were talking to someone face-to-face as they were doing during the date. Especially if you were familiar enough with the tech to be watching for it, it would be obvious when someone was using their interface instead of paying attention to you. Humans are amazingly good at noticing very subtle changes in eye contact.

I got the impression that the guy was sort of like a future version of a pickup artist

I thought maybe she even recognized the name of the app. Perhaps "Wingman" is infamous in her world, widely-associated with the PUA scene.
posted by straight at 9:55 PM on July 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


This video reminded me a lot (in spirit) of Benjamin Rosenbaum's The Guy Who Worked For Money, which was discussed on the blue previously. The spirit being that we will increasingly be able to utilize technology in real-time to access public information about the people around us, and that the boundary between private and public is ever diminishing. These and similar stories all seem to focus on the consequence of that unfettered access (here just another cog in the gamification machine), as if the basic premise is inevitable. Which is the scary bit to me.

@mhoye: I heard "...a friggin' game junkie". Well, I really heard "a gay junkie", but that doesn't make any sense in context...
posted by isnotchicago at 10:03 PM on July 29, 2012


As usual, it's not the future's technology that's frightening. It's the mean, crappy people using it.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:28 PM on July 29, 2012


I think the bigger aspect of the future is the end of privacy. We'll know what all of our neighbors, friends, and family masturbate to. That is ... that is something else entirely. It is hard to imagine.

You'll say hello, and go, oh, hey, you like that site? It says so on the glasses.

They'll say yeah, look a little awkward, and add, hey have you tried this site?

No. No. You'll say. You've never been there before.

They know.

Because you will know too. You will know where they will go, and so they will know where you go.

The dream you go to class naked is not so awkward if everyone in the class is naked too. You all have a laugh, realize that guy you thought had a giant dick is about the same size as you, and that girl has a mole shaped about as weird as your birth mark. What is with all these bodily shapes reminiscent of countries in South America, you might wonder.

And that is a future that is hard to imagine. A future without bullshit.

Without secrecy: will it be harder or easier to make friends?

And how will we decline invitations?

And how does democracy work when you've seen the testicles of politicians through the eyes of the politicians themselves?
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:42 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but there's a whole lot of assumptions and privilege packed into that statement. What if it was somebody you found utterly unattractive? (e.g., "20%")

Maybe, yes. But I'm somewhat dominant, and find people making excessive effort to please (even to the point of slight nervousness about it) really very sexy indeed. I tend to be attracted to personality more than looks, but I'm aware that it's difficult to separate out from my upbringing.

I used to be a bit more into men; I don't think I'd feel different if it was a man doing it.

Which form of privilege are you referring to? I'm really curious how it might be swaying my view.
posted by jaduncan at 3:14 AM on July 30, 2012


Well I learnt that functional wetware wasn't what I thought it was so there was that.

+1
posted by MuffinMan at 3:27 AM on July 30, 2012


The internet already influences me way too much, so I find this future particularly frightening.
posted by orme at 4:24 AM on July 30, 2012


TwelveTwo, don't you think there will be apps for tweaking your "private" info and improving your image? Perhaps a larger dick really will be possible with just a simple download! I just find it hard to believe there won't be ways to control our images, although I'm sure it will become a sort of "privacy versus honesty" arms race.
posted by orme at 4:30 AM on July 30, 2012


I'd love to see the same video from her perspective, where she's using the "WingGirl" app...

That's actually the direction I thought that the film was going to take. Two people who aren't particularly interested in each other (or better yet: are perfect for each other but will never know it) just obeying their Wing(wo)man Apps' instructions on how best to navigate the date. The people might be there for any reason -- looking for love, an easy lay or just scoring points -- but following the prompts in an attempt to out-manipulate each other effectively just reduces them to avatars in an arms race between the apps' programmers.

Expanding this to include things like picking date locations and outfits, and meta-game stuff of the algorithms trying to identify and manipulate each other, would quickly reach the point where the humans have basically no agency. You'd just get tooled up with the latest algorithms -- because without them, you're easy prey -- and go out on strings of successful, picture-perfect, stage-managed dates. Everyone ends up in the arms of a guaranteed-perfect lover, with whom they've never shared an honest opinion or a spontaneous action, and with whom the charged, uncertain silence before a first kiss lasted exactly as long as the on-screen countdown instructed them to wait. Dystopia will be beautiful.

You'd have a hell of a time getting all of that into a seven minute film, of course.
posted by metaBugs at 7:56 AM on July 30, 2012 [1 favorite]



TwelveTwo, don't you think there will be apps for tweaking your "private" info and improving your image? Perhaps a larger dick really will be possible with just a simple download! I just find it hard to believe there won't be ways to control our images, although I'm sure it will become a sort of "privacy versus honesty" arms race.


Yeah, of course, but the problem is that it is only going to work so long as no one looks at your dick. The issue is that information technology mechanizes gossip.

You know how we have the problem of someone recording the dumb stuff you do with their smart phone? Imagine not having to think after the fact, oh shit, should have totally recorded that. Instead, you can just go grab it from the Google Eye-Archive which is keeping a constant record of your activity for the last two weeks (or forever?), has everyone's faces tagged, and locations and so on, and you clip it, share it with friends. Sure, yeah, the other person can try to deny the tag or whatever Google+esque system is in play, but that works less effectively as the volume increases. Eventually, you come to a point where auto-okay is what is socially acceptable, and not okaying it is what old people do, all thinking they are special and believing in the medieval values of dignity and shame, the fools.

The very hang ups we have in society, hang ups regarding whether or not people know or not, will no longer make sense. I am not describing a dystopia (as I am usually prone to do), but a very different society. A society where dirty laundry airs itself. You have the suffocating intimacy of a small village, minus the stiff regulatory values and morality that made much of it suffocating. You see how your neighbor has fucked up, it is intelligently indexed by emotion, time, and location, but you can't act like you never did something just as bad. You will get called out so fast for acting more dignified, after all, the time you peed your pants in first grade is available for all to share.

It becomes difficult to imagine. I know I will not survive in the future. I will likely die of embarrassment.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:05 AM on July 30, 2012


I keep thinking Matrix
posted by Jondo at 11:02 AM on July 30, 2012


Yeah, of course, but the problem is that it is only going to work so long as no one looks at your dick. The issue is that information technology mechanizes gossip.

What we might get are programs that will spam social media with false information, hoping to make the real thing indistinguishable from noise.
posted by straight at 11:39 AM on July 30, 2012


These devices, and the growth of the Internet and mobile devices in general, has always reminded me of an Outer Limits episode called Stream of Consciousness. In that episode, all of humanity has implanted devices connecting them to all the world's knowledge. Everyone can access any bit of knowledge at any time. Nobody had to memorize or learn anything as we see it today. The plot revolves around a person that cannot have the implants. The most interesting aspect of the episode was describing how someone not connected felt left behind, cold, and isolated. They were able to adapt to a certain extent, but they could not compete against instant access to all information.

The rest of the plot was standard goofy, but the underlying premise was insightful.

Back then (1997) it was a story more or less about a futuristic take on a perceived handicap, with overtones of every take-over-the-human-race story ever told, that in reality was capping the rest of humanity's humanity. Now it feels like insight into our future.

I wish that story, and this movie, stopped at the concept and explored the basic idea further. I find it to be both a fascinating and sad future we face - full of possibilities and limits that will reshape more than we can currently predict. I am, at this moment, slowly realizing that I dread this future.
posted by Muddler at 12:00 PM on July 30, 2012


Which form of privilege are you referring to? I'm really curious how it might be swaying my view.

Just to line up the conversation, I was referring to your comment:

And me? I'd find it cute if a woman was using such a program.

And, yeah, I totally agree that it's adorable when somebody you're already into is trying to manipulate you into sex,** whether it's with a silly excuse to come up to her place or a crazy AR app.

Buuut, for the coercion to be cute, you first have to be into the other person (an "assumption" of the scenario), and there has to be a near-zero chance that the person could rape you if you decline ("privilege" of being male). Sure, we all have a few stories to the contrary, but guys generally don't have to deal with creepiness anywhere near as much as women do.

** My favorite is the girl who kept bringing over a Mullholland Drive DVD for us to watch together, hoping to get me turned on by the lesbian sex scene (she later admitted, but DUH OBVIOUS!), but we kept ending up naked before we got to that part of the movie...
posted by LordSludge at 4:32 PM on July 30, 2012


Buuut, for the coercion to be cute, you first have to be into the other person (an "assumption" of the scenario), and there has to be a near-zero chance that the person could rape you if you decline ("privilege" of being male). Sure, we all have a few stories to the contrary, but guys generally don't have to deal with creepiness anywhere near as much as women do.

Heh, I went through a gay phase as a 18-yo twink. Men can indeed be creepy.

But yeah, the situation changes when you're the smaller and weaker party. Probably to the worse when a computerised agent is telling them how to pretend to be civilised.
posted by jaduncan at 7:37 AM on July 31, 2012


"Coerced" was probably too strong a word; "manipulated" is more on point...

...

What if you expand the WingMan app idea into all facets of life, more like a LifeCoach app... or iJesus... to encourage good behavior: Get to work on time = +2points! Help an old lady across the street = +500points! Get in a fight with a stranger = -1000points!

It's a strange thing... If you're monitored and coached into good behavior, is it really "good behavior"? Or is it fake and manipulative?
posted by LordSludge at 9:15 AM on July 31, 2012


The design of this movie is beautiful, but after some thought, the story disappointingly misogynistic. Her character is reduced to nothing — and worse. There should be some way to communicate the dystopian horror without ending in date rape. Obviously this is a short film, and you could argue there wasn't space for more character. But I think that's irresponsible. I'd love to see the sequel where she gets revenge. Or simply a prologue after the credits where she sends a spike back into his interface. I hope this future includes a pepper spray app or a castration app.
posted by asfuller at 11:06 AM on July 31, 2012


I'd love to see the whole thing from her perspective, complete with WingGirl app, with a Douche-o-meter that interprets and gauges his behavior... culminating in "GET OUT OF THERE, GIRL!!"

Or maybe she's just a CGI construct, literally just a game character. He failed the encounter and simply restarted the level. So no actual date-rape potential, just a weird date-training/masturbation thing.

The next 20 years are going to be interesting.
posted by LordSludge at 11:35 AM on July 31, 2012


Digital Jiminy Crickets: Do apps that promote ethical behavior diminish our ability to make just decisions?

Nudge, Nudge: Can Software Prod Us Into Being More Civil?
posted by homunculus at 8:00 PM on July 31, 2012


An Exclusive Look at How Bryan Singer’s H+ is Reimagining Transhumanism

H+ The Digital Series
posted by homunculus at 3:26 PM on August 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hackers backdoor the human brain, successfully extract sensitive data
posted by homunculus at 6:22 PM on August 18, 2012


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