Mark Rolston Speaks at TNW Conference on Harnessing Dark Interactions

Mark Rolston, chief creative officer at argodesign, gave a talk on Dark Interactions at The Next Web Conference where he explored the future of work.

Rolston started his talk by describing the persistent and immersive nature of machine technology in our lives. It has become something that we cannot live without. Due to the machines we have with us at all times, he made the argument that we are nodes in the networks, and he referred to the constant presence of computing as the quantification of everything. However, Rolston also acknowledged that AI that can add to intelligence.

Rolston next introduced the concept of the ‘Dark Interactions” in our lives, a new class of behavior without explicit human interaction. For example, in an office environment, we might see technology that does everything from automatically adjusting the temperature to transcribing conversations by the water cooler and transforming it into data.

Taking the idea even further, Rolston explained how light could be used to provide us with virtual information through tactile interactions. He referred to this as reframing natural behavior where commonalities are turned into interface events. By surrounding ourselves with information, these facilities will seemingly come alive, but through calm interactions that do not disrupt everyday lives.

The beauty of this technology is not without its vulnerabilities. Exploitation of personal systems is the dark side of these possibilities. Rolston identified the need for rules, such as the ethicality of facial recognition. Humans used to have a sense of independence in creating their virtual selves, but now there is a combined self that is emerging through the dark data in our lives. Rolston ended his talk by describing how in tomorrow’s world we need “an invisibility switch” to regain our independence from the interactions that now define us.


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