At the frontier of digital, the industry is poised to ask a new question of its users: how do you expect technology to behave when it no longer requires your direct control and is all around you?
There are many names ascribed to this transition – context-awareness, robotics, autonomy – but they all point to one importance difference. Instead of digital things being extensions of users’ own actions, understood as a discrete subset of the physical world, they are set to become items which respond in their own time and surround us.
The Verge’s video about the cruise ship is at once both a monument to the rapid progress of this transition and a warning of how intense, mechanical and sterile it might feel when experienced in such density. Their canvas for the video is the confines of a ship, but it could just as easily be a hotel, an office or a home upon which this vision of the future is painted.
The future will require us to create machines which can nuance the design of their own human interactions. That’s going to be hard and if ever there was a vision to prompt reconsideration of progress towards this future, this is it.