May 19 Presentation to the INNOV8COLLECTIVE in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. 20160519.0712.Xcellencepresentation
Fifty years later Moore’s law has been remarkably consistent:
The number of a transistors in an integrated circuit has doubled approximately every 18 months for over 51 years.
The number of transistors available in today’s phone may be up to double that of last model’s, at the same cost to manufacture.
Today’s computers technically have 3,500 times the performance of computers at the time of Moore’s prediction. So why does it often seem like the software we run, including the operating environments, was defined more than a decade ago?
Let’s put this in comparison to really get real:
- Cars that would go 2 million miles per hour
- Cars that achieved 60 000 miles per gallon (1 fill up every few years–I could live with the pollution)
- Cars would cost about 4 cents, on average.
(Don’t ask Gordon Moore: he’s done his part; is worth around 7 billion dollars for it.) Instead, let’s leave hardware to the side of the equation and take a look at the real technology controlling use ability, interface and computing intelligence: SOFTWARE.
Creating software that works well might be remarkably easy, if looked at through a prism of bus architecture.
In computer architecture, a bus is a communication system that transfers data between components inside a computer, or between computers.
Today’s computers, including smartphones and other mobile devices all share an architectural hardware feature called a bus. What may be missing is a corresponding bus for the human side of the equation.
Notice that there is no software bus that transfers data between components inside a mind, or between minds. Instead, WE are the bus! This is no accident, but rather the cumulative impact of continuing to build computers based on software technology whose origin is as old as Moore’s Law.
Xerox Corporation established the Palo Alto Research Center in 1970. This wholly owned corporation was given an almost completely free reign to develop leading edge computing technologies.
Your smartphone today operates software that was architected at PARC in the early 70s. This was designed for computers that had a tiny fraction of the processing power of today’s mobile devices.
Xerox was a deeply innovative company–but even Xerox could not figure out how to apply all of PARC’s inventions, many of which relied on heavy processing ability that was at the leading edge of hardware when it was developed—and yet is paltry compared to today, due to Moore’s Law.
PARC’s inventions are numerous and storied, including the laser printer, Ethernet, the mouse, the graphical user interface and early versions of both email and the Internet. In 1979 Steve Jobs famously licensed PARC’s technology for free, from Xerox (they got Apple stock options) and built that technology into the Lisa, later the Macintosh, later IOS. Windows, Android and all other commercially successful systems since are all modeled on PARC developments. Even Microsoft Word was developed later, by two former PARC employees, at Microsoft.
Is it any wonder then, that we are not using computers, that metaphorically go 2 million miles per hour, get 60,000 miles per gallon and cost 4 cents? Sure we’ve got all that horsepower ‘under the hood’ powering big data and the cloud, for instance, but in day to day interaction, we are barely out of the horse and buggy interface.
The primary requirement of software is to understand human intention: if computers don’t understand what we want then everything which follows is balderdash.
Let’s be clear, today’s computers do not understand intention. When google returns 3,300 results (or more likely 3.3 million results) this represents lack of human understanding. Anything more than one result is likely to produce irritation, confusion and inefficiency for humans. Apple’s Siri is one of the closest things computers currently have to understanding, but it also has no understanding, unless I am asking for something filed on the most surface level of the computer’s bus.
So what about a bus for the human side? And how does archetype come to be a part of the answers?
Archetype is described as a very typical example of a person or thing: an original that has been imitated; and as a recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art or mythology.
Our primary archetype in computer interface design must always be Homo Sapiens. Homo Sapiens is the scientific name for the only remaining species of homo erectus. Literally, ‘wise person’, Homo sapiens has been resolutely ignored by computer and interface designers of the last 50 years.
Instead, computer designers have time and again resolutely produced interim solution after solution, each of which is a little bit longer of a stop-gap solution.
Now that we know in some sense why that is, due to the plagiarism and outright copycat theft of early innovation; innovation has roughly stood still since the late 70s. All development since 1979 has been ‘around the edges’, or one could say ‘window dressing’ of the same basic design phenomena. So let’s take a look at how Homo sapiens, on an archetypal level should not be ignored:
Home Sapiens feature a number of unique qualities and features that enable us to be ideal transferers of knowledge and information. We share a number of distinct physiological features as well as ‘soft-sprung’ emotional and processing qualities that further our adaptability and high performing traits.
Enabling ‘2 million miles per hour’ computers to interface with minds that sometimes surpass these abilities requires subtlety, logic and discipline, on the part of the UX designer.
Most of all today, this requires originality and a true sense of wonder of what’s possible, rather than attentiveness to what has already been done, which is old; not news.
With this in mind, let’s begin to address today’s topic, UX Excellence Through Understanding of Archetype.
So every ride is similar—full of questions to the hitch-hiker. As the hitch-hiker, it’s like we’re on one boring talk show after another featuring bad journalists who went to the same poor journalism school—each time they ask us the same boring questions, one after another; it’s as though these journalists don’t even watch each other’s programs. By the time we get to ask our questions (make software requests), we are often out of time (or patience).
In looking at UX Excellence Through Understanding of Archetype let’s take a ride on the wild side and see that may truly be possible by programming based on the ‘human bus’ concept, anchoring our close attention to the archetypal modality of the human user.
To solve this ‘how to’ question we shall follow a few simple rules, just to keep the discussion confined to a manageable size and practical paradigms. Let’s agree to:
- Assemble and fix our blinders–we’re going to confine our attention to what is directly in front of us–we’ll find there is more than enough to keep us occupied right here; and
- Limit and know ourselves: let’s stick to what we can agree on about ourselves, and follow through rigorously; and most of all;
- Keep it simple, always. Keeping it simple (this one is not only a good rule in general, but a cardinal rule of archetypes)
By the way, let me insert right now that I prefer the term Player to User. Player is both less one-sided and more indicative of the true nature of how homo sapiens lives, works, talks and experiences life. So how do we prepare for an experience of Player Excellence?
Player Excellence may be modeled on the whole body nature of homo sapiens, which informs everything about which we think, talk, act, form thoughts, experiences and communicate.
Coming, as we have, from a UX perspective, perhaps a bit of a review of the basic equipment might be in order, so we can be sure we are developing the best overall Player Experience, or PX. Bear in mind, we are going to follow on our 3 cardinal rules, including it keeping it simple: from the thousands of parts and aspects of Homo sapiens, we will confine ourselves to a handful being the most obvious. This will ensure we have terms we all may agree on, as well as develop useful new perspectives right away.
Right! We’ve got several pairs of things, namely, two hands, attached to arms, roughly similar looking, but differently functioning; and two feet, again attached to legs, basically same looking, but with distinct, although parallel functions. We also have several totally unique components, including a head, great for processing and communicating, a heart, amazing for connection, and a low body or abdomen, that keeps us all running and connected. That’s it, two hands, two feet, head, heart and abdomen.
If you were counting, that’s hand, hand, head, heart, abdomen, and foot, foot.
Seven pieces. I see you mostly all brought all seven with you, so I’m going to assume that is not too many things for us to keep track of!
Lest you feel this is too basic for you, I’d like to remind you that this hardware is not only standard equipment, but it is hard wired into the mind processing unit of homo sapiens, and almost everything you know and explore about the world is derived through interaction of these seven pieces.
Therefore, let us assume, for the present, that everything we need to know can be derived from an understanding of these elements.
Until we explore the true functioning of these elements, we will not be able to truly produce Player Experience. Player Experience will be effectively produced, automatically, through the production of the Player Bus (PB), comprised of these seven elements: left hand, right hand, head, heart, abdomen, left foot, right foot.
The Player Bus is to interact with computer hardware and software in such a way that a truly human experience may be derived when communicating through IT.
So, let’s talk a little about what some of the qualities of the fundamental elements of the Player Bus might be:
- The purpose of our left hand is to detect and develop pattern-making.
- We do this through referencing what has been.
- We call the left hand function: CHECK PAST.
- To the device the purpose of the left hand is PATTERN CUTTER
- The purpose of our right hand is to create preference in the moment.
- We do this by building.
- We call the right hand function: CHOOSE FUTURE.
- To the device the purpose of the right hand is FILTRATION
- The purpose of our head is see the present moment in archetype-informed fuzzy logic.
- We do this by viewing our world in a form of color matrix.
- We call this head function: START TRACKING.
- It’s important that we communicate with our self-device in a form of Lingua Franca
- To the device the purpose of the head is sense and track the present moment.
- a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.
- The purpose of our heart is to select which element is active:
- Fundamentally, this means it has a 4-track selection mechanism
- We call this heart function SELECT SERVICE
- It’s important that our self-device employs a Player Adaptive Taxonomy
- To the device this as an evolution from seeing us as USERS to becoming > PLAYERS
- The purpose of our abdomen is to arrange all our active parts:
- This means a bus arranges active elements transparently, for our use and selection.
- We call this abdomen function ARRANGE CUISINE.
- Essentially, this aspect creates an interactive whiteboard environment.
- The purpose of our left foot is to QUANTIFY: imagine tapping out a number.
- Any level of any transaction must be quantifiable (this is a computation environment!)
- We call this left foot function XHANGE.
- The ability to quantify and exchange anything within our environment makes it, and us, useful.
- The purpose of our right foot is to EXECUTE: imagine keeping rhythm.
- Any purpose or any transaction must be executable through a UNIVERSAL API.
- The right foot is an exterior reference integration system.
- The ability to maintain a regular flow and rhythm with external communications and systems makes our bus practical.
Here we have described a Human Software Bus equipped with the basic elements providing it sufficient autonomous interactive power to BE the interface that interacts with the Computer Hardware Bus and Internet.
So far we have described in surface details the archetype of humanity expressed in software terms. This description may be highly informative in terms of any form of thoughtful software design, for without a deep and clear understanding of the host (that’s us!) translated into relatable terms to computing, we are forever in the dark.
No discussion of archetypes can be complete without a grounding in the foundation of the operator. For, as in classical architecture, every form, every proportion, every decoration has some function based on human form, proportion and decoration. In this way, archetypes are useable and useful because they describe a return to humanity.
We are apparently symmetrical, left and right, so must our devices echo us. We have differing functions left and right, so our interface must mimic our function and workings.
We have a head, a heart, a body, so must our device. For, when we look into a tiny 4″ screen for up to 5 hours a day, as most 13 year olds do today, we are looking to find ourselves. As we fail in this reflection, we fail as PX designers, engineers, architects and builders. And, as we succeed in helping others see their true essence, their beauty, efficiency, intelligence and worth, we succeed in pulling towards ourselves a true future based not on the past, but on human potential, itself.
Of course this foundation of the player archetype is not the end of a worthwhile and invaluable discussion of the use of archetype in creating excellence in player experience, but rather, a beginning.
While the machine’s interface and design may be inferred through a mirror reflection of our foundation, the same doesn’t hold for every detail: nor, in fact does it well inform our conversation nor understanding of the brands, which are represented by the software.
These discussions, which revolve in strong measure around the use of specific colors and color combinations, as well as the use of archetypal forms, may be seen as building on the Archeytpe of our Human Bus. Today’s brief introduction cannot hope to encompass all of these variables, but this information is available and I hope that you will avail yourself of it in follow up sessions, education and reading.
Our study is the study of architectonics, we also call this Kinetic Architecture. From a scientific perspective, therefore, we embrace the paradoxical concept of a moving architecture.
Today we are at a major crossroads for Interface Designers and anyone interested in the next generation of Computation. Due to Moore’s Law it is predictable that within a very short span of time (less than a decade) processing power may reach or exceed that of the human mind.
Meanwhile, today’s mobile marketplace, representing the majority of computer sales and eyeball time is controlled by two very large and very fat corporations: Apple and Google.
A duopoly is the most basic form of oligopoly, a market dominated by a small number of companies. A duopoly can have the same impact on the market as a monopoly if the two players collude on prices or output.
While it is debatable whether or not Apple and Google have actually colluded on prices or output, the effect is similar because, as we have discussed, both the IOS and Android products are functionally nearly identical, since they come from the same stock.
Duopolies are typically not economically healthy or efficient for the economy as a whole and do not encourage innovation. An obvious example is the US political system, which forces Americans to vote between ‘the lesser of two evils’. Fundamentally, duopolies work to enforce the status quo.
This situation today is a de facto duopoly. Those who benefit are most fundamentally Apple and Google. This is born out by the stock market and the Interbrand 100, where Apple and Google are respectively the #1 and #2 most valuable brands in the world today.
The fact that both systems work by forcing everyone to purchase software through either the Apple Store or the Play Store and to use the same antiquated interface and decades old data storage system is further evidence of the duopoly.
Unfortunately, when computers reach the point of ‘the Singularity’ things may become extremely dire if the present duopoly remains. (Big Brother!)
That is why the time now is urgent to offer a Third Alternative!
The third alternative, inferred throughout today’s discussion is, in fact, what I’m committing my life to producing, from right here in Vancouver.
Based on ARCHITECTONICS kinetic architecture, this new reality, called GENR8 TECHNOLOGY is in early project form today.
ARCHITECTONICS has been in development over a decade and is fully articulated as a compact, open source kinetic architecture, making it an ideal rally point for development of the next generation of interface.
The 3rd choice will be defined by humanity and is the project opportunity of a lifetime! Anyone potentially interested in learning more, or possibly becoming involved in this project should contact the author: bryce at markbrand dot net; application form: may-19-meetinghandouts5
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford