Digital Technology – What Now?

I was lunching with one of the most innovative minds of the 21st Century the other day and I don’t say that lightly. Ghislaine Boddington has been developing projects in the fields of telepresence and virtual reality for over twenty years. Her work ‘examines the representation of our physical selves and our identities in virtual environments and the hyper enhancement of our human senses through the digital transmission/reception of body data, such as touch, motion, biofeedback and gesture‘. Her design unit, bodydataspace is ‘a collective of artists and designers engaged in creating fascinating connections between performance, architecture, new media and virtual worlds’  

Note: What is telepresence?

Boddington and many others have been developing and working on projects involving virtual reality, augmented reality, telepresence and innovative creative digital ideas for years. These are the adventurers, the innovators, the artists, the explorers, the pioneers, the scientists of a new age – our future.

But What Now?

It seems we have come to some kind of jam. We have the technology. It’s all there. Albeit continually being fine tuned and advancing at a phenomenal rate. Some not quite in the right order yet, maybe but it’s all there. We’re learning more and more every day. But it needs a shove. We need to really recognise the invaluable importance of what these pioneers are doing. We’re only just getting a handle on wearable technology and commercial ways of utilising augmented reality, i.e. apps like Blippar or Layar, and I’m sure many others I’m unaware of. But that’s just the point. If I’m unaware of it, so are thousands of others. Blippar presented itself a few months ago in a single issue of the Daily Telegraphs Stella Magazine. I downloaded the app and explored the various features that I could use the app on. It was fun and informative and exciting to use. But that was it. I haven’t seen it since. What’s with the tentativeness? Augmented reality is ready to go. It’s all there, but we’re wary of it. We’re not really quite sure how to commercialise it, how to monetize it. It’s like’ What’s the point of it’? ‘Now what?’

Whilst funding, and of course rightly so, is poured into medical and scientific research, the digital sector seems to be somewhat overlooked. The scope of digital, virtual reality and telepresence is limitless. It has boundless opportunities to improve all areas of life. It can been used in the arts, in communication, in business and countless other ways. We just have to grab it and allow these pioneers show us the extent of the opportunities it can bring.

The Back End

Ghislaine is also investing in our future generations and is helping to support and promote careers within the world of technology and digital with her programme of work ‘WomenShiftDigital’, under the umbrella of bodydataspace.  She is ‘recognised as international long term figures involved in the women in technology debates and networks, promoting and supporting the work of many female artists and researchers.’

Ghislaine says ‘Our vision is that women and girls, equally to men and boys, need to be able to take advantages of the massive opportunities and knowledge offered by the tech revolution, to join innovative careers in business across sectors, to build confidence, ambition and risk taking aptitudes. The future of coding, design and content creation needs to be equally influenced and created by women to ensure a balanced and equal perspective to be fully integrated as a baseline into the long term design and development of tools (hardware and software) that will fit with ease across genders at the very base of our society. We need to encourage women and girls to become Tomorrow’s successful producers, communicators, educators, coders, digital artists, designers, curators, writers and creatives”

Take a Step

So, we need to turn a page, to take the leap, to trust in these innovators, this mind blowing technology that just needs grabbing by the horns, embraced without fear or tentativeness and driven in a positive, determined, open minded way into our exciting future.