So, I was hanging out with Far Beyond The Stars blogger, Everett Bogue recently and he turned me on to the work of “cyborg anthropologist,” Amber Case.
Her video on how technology and human beings are working together in a radically different way just went up on the TED website. It’s fascinating how mobile tech is literally changing how we exist and connect. But, toward the end of her presentation, she spoke to something that’s really concerned me as of late.
We have all, says Case, been gifted with the ability to connect with anyone anytime. We don’t have to, but we can.
Case calls this ambient intimacy, because it’s always there.
But there’s a downside. Ambient intimacy, from a behavioral standpoint also creates a scenario where the constant ability to connect, give and get feedback compels us to want to do it more and more.
The more we do it, the more we want to do it. And, the more powerless we begin to feel to NOT do it. It’s a phenomenon known as intermittent reinforcement and it can often look a whole lot like addiction.
Hyper-connectivity isn’t innately bad. In fact it’s revolutionary on many levels. It keeps us dialed into more people and that can lead to genius creation and relationships. But, it’s what it takes away that’s scaring me and Case.
Ambient intimacy evaporates the pause.
The moments in your day where you’re unreachable. Where the only person you can connect with is you. Where you get the time and space to go inside. To reflect. To discover. To synthesize and create. To come home.
My friend, Scott Belsky recently wrote about this in a post titled, What Happened to Downtime?
Connectedness facilitates the collision of ideas and that, by and large, is a good thing. But, in my experience as a creator, DISconnectedness has been an equally important and rich source of ideation, innovation, expression and evolution.
Curious, what do you think?
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