In the very early days of Silicon Valley, when there were more hippies than business leaders, Steve Jobs was mocked for actually trying to sell something (Jaron Lanier). Money was not a concern, the advancement of the human race via technology was all.
This overtly anti-capitalist culture in the valley was fostered by the digital pioneers, who were more interested in the potential of the technology they were playing with rather than working out how to monetise it.
When the young tech giants of today grew within this culture and could not develop direct monetisation, we, the human, became the new gold. So the giant land grab for human engagement began and globalisation beyond the jet-engine era accelerated to unforeseen levels.
But there is now a growing concern of the individual social impact of our tech driven globalisation, more specifically an emerging understanding of the change in the ability of the human to engage positively with the real-world around them.
Whether we are engrossed in our handheld device for over 4hrs a day, interacting with people without ever needing to meet them physically, or escaping in a VR headset, our surroundings are not as apparent.
The overuse of digital technology is leading to a disconnect between us and our world, which in turn spawns loneliness and isolation. The tech giant’s answer to this loneliness? More advertising and the deliberately addictive cycle of “like” and “find friends”.
This is all at a time when we need to cherish our environment and surroundings more than ever.
We believe that emerging technology in the fields of AR and IoT has the power to fix these wrongs through the ability to connect between the digital and physical.
It is imperative that the right agents with the right empathetic design ethos shape that power to elevate the connection between people and their environment. In line with the spirit of the early Silicon Valley, this should not be seen as a playground for those who wish to advertise or sell, but a place where utility meets purpose to bring about meaningful human interaction.
The ARCADE mission is to combine digital design and architectural practice in order to define this place in-between. A place which can support our reconnection with our surroundings. By working with us, our partners can begin to own this space, through the development of platforms and services which bring utility and purpose to their people. Let’s use technology to reclaim our surroundings and re-discover ourselves!