Is social media a bunch of BS? (There's a new book which argues yes.) Even if we stipulate that it's not, there's an unspoken consensus that our online interactions with the friends we've never met isn't achieving its full potential.
Enter Intel Labs, where scientists and engineers are investigating what I'd call Social 4.0 (my phrase, not theirs.) Back in October, the folks at Intel were kind enough to take me around their facilities in Hillsboro, Ore. and in Santa Clara, Calif. My payback for their generosity has been a three-month delay in reporting on what I saw, perhaps because I was so awed by the breadth and depth of the research. Beginning today, I intent to tilt the other way, with a series of posts that'll Intel you out by the time we're done.
As regards social, Intel is doing a lot of heavy lifting, which could better knit heavily hyped but underachieving social tools into the core of our daily computing habits. (See, social is still so amorphous that it resists a coherent explanation of what it requires to become really useful.) Perhaps it'll take a psychologist with computer smarts -- or vice versa -- to uncover the answer.
"Social media is going to become far more dynamic," Intel senior research Margie Morris told me. "It's going to help people [voice emotions] in a more fluid way." With her background as a clinical psychologist -- I was hoping she wouldn't send me a bill after fielding all my questions -- http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/research/people/intel-labs-bio-margie-morris.html Morris has standing to help cook social's secret sauce.
She's leading an Intel Labs project dubbed Emotions through Images, which I'd characterize as adding Intel's deep technical smarts alongside the still-lightweight apps pushing out social content. Then, the whole thing is projected out en masse to hopefully engage the masses. Consider it a kind of virtual Middle Ages town square, updated for the twenty-first century, but without the bubonic plague.
As Intel's formal description (edited) puts it: "Images taken by individuals on mobile phones with Instagram are projected on a large interactive display. Intel sentiment analysis software studies the captions to infer the "mood" of the images, which are categorize according to the Circumplex Model of emotion. [This is a kind of psychologist's heat map, which color-codes the pictures.] Individuals are invited to express how an image makes them feel with a touch screen Mood Map. Individuals can also associate images, using emotion to compose arrangements and colors of the entire installation. These compositions allow us to capture and share the collective vibe of events."
Vibe -- that's the ticket. Here, look:
The pix are projected by a separate Intel Labs project called Display with Boundaries. Led by Intel researchers Doug Carmean and Carl Marshall, the objective is to change how and where we display and interact with our content.
Success entails much more than just right-angling the image so it's projected onto a wall. Flat-panel displays are clear and regular. Not so painted walls or tables, which have irregularities and different absorption characteristics peppered throughout their surfaces.
So the psych department who gave us dolphins manipulating children to sell P55 PCs before MMX apps, pioneered addiction to ads, attractors tying to clients now attempts too lure us into believing the worth of codevelopment for Intel forensic recognition algorithms.
The Mega Machine attempts to profile us to secure complete control.
The business of creating a limited, docile, scientifically conditioned reality adjusted to an Intel has kept pace with the transformation of that environment itself. By reinforcing its forms of conformity; rewards & adjusting stimulus that deny any real choice outside the range of Intelís system of controls.
Americans who spend 3 to 6 hours a day absorbing the contents of computers, whose entertainment are digital games, sense of reality is blunted by a world dominated by a daily intercourse with system agents will only by heroic effort be able to disengage themselves from Intel forensic clients to recover any measure of autonomy.
The mega machine attempts to have us under its control. Conditioned to its interfaces and its stereotypes far more effectively than the most authoritative human source which the system now attempts to substitute.
In this stage of development as science fiction writers perceive science will attempt to do directly by electronic, physical, chemical means what human institutions; religion, morals, law sought to do directly. By exhortation, persuasion, reward and discomfort namely too transform the nature of man.
Intel now confidently proposes to alter human potentialities through forensic intervention constructing a substitute homunculus component of a humanly vacuous automatic system.
An existence too permit no unforeseen departures or rebellions from Intelís grip.
On human culture and social invention, moral obligations and natural laws of an established society the human species has up until now avoided such a fatal arrest.
Since many photographs now have location information, it would be interesting to display images from all viewers at a location. If the mood could be deduced, the "sad" participants might start moving towards the "happy" region of the space. I just hope that criminals don't plug into the feed and use it to monitor how they're being viewed and to plan escape routes.