Commercialization of Memory - Can Simulated Memory Replace Reality?

Made by lingj, Willow Hong and Lisa Li

With all the signals we found in the present time, we see a future world in 2045 where the commercial value of "personal experience" is widely accepted and a new economy model has emerged. Based on this vision, we created a persona called Eddie and reconstructed 3 snapshots in his life from now to 2045 for the exhibition. We invite visitors to consider the following questions: What happens when simulated reality becomes your entire reality and memories? What is the definition of happiness?

Created: May 16th, 2018

0

PROJECT INTRODUCTION

With all the signals we found in the present time, we started to see a future world in 2045 where:

  • Recording and sharing technologies for digital immersive experiences are mature and ubiquitous;
  • Everyone becomes both producers and consumers of memory products;
  • The commercial value of "personal experience" is widely accepted and a new economy model has emerged;
  • The most popular content on social media is no longer videos or images, but experiences.

Based on this future vision, we created a timeline to highlight major milestones that will occur as the current world is transforming to this future world. We also created a persona called Eddie and reconstructed three snapshots in his life as lifestory instances following this timeline. When you are experiencing Eddie’s life moments in this exhibition, we invite you to consider the following questions:

  • What happens when simulated reality becomes your entire reality and memories? Are others’ experiences equally valuable to you? Is the totality of experience important?
  • What are the values of experiences? Can you achieve happiness in life via living through others’ experiences
  • Who will choose to live in simulated reality? Who will benefit from consuming simulated experiences? Who will receive the repercussion?
  • Who will live in the physical reality? Why would they choose to do so?
  • What is the definition of privacy in 2045? What are people’s attitude towards personal data?
0

BACKGROUND RESEARCH

Step 1. Finding Signals

The first step we took is to conduct a horizon scan for signals that point to the directions of possible futures. We identified emerging technologies, industry/products trends and social changes that indicate a future where there is a high desirability and recognization of the commercial value of sharing and experiencing simulated memories through first-person point of view. The detailed analysis of these signals is described below:

The emergence of some signals such as ASMR and the Fan Fan Boyfriend TV show suggest that people love immersive experiences. Other signals such as using live voice changing programs indicate that people are fine with experiencing even an altered reality as part of their memory as long as it satisfy their needs. In addition, the invention of Voice Assistant and other AI products has brought simulated experiences to a new level: these products have completely replaced interactions with a real person, and even established emotional relations with their users. This implies that people are increasingly accepting of treating artificial content as part of their real experiences.

The commercial value of memory is demonstrated in several different forms. The popularization of VR & AR-enabled games signals the success of the commercialization of simulated experiences. Live streaming platforms monetized experiences of the individual. Facebook and other social platforms profit via providing services that allow anyone to capture and share memories. Together with a shift in consumerʼs spending preference, these signals highlight the desirability and commercial value of sharing and experiencing simulated memories through first-person point of view.

0

Step 2. Future Backcasting

Building on the signal analysis and the resulted future vision, we created a backcasted timeline from current time to 2045 to concretize this imagined future history step by step. This process helped us to understand how our future vision might become a reality, and what kind of milestones a single person might encounter in his life to arrive at this future world of 2045 from 2017. This aspect of viewing the world from one person's perspective later becomes our main inspiration for the exhibition design.

0
Timeline Draft
Img 5448 copy.thumb
0
Timeline Final
Timeline final.thumb
0


EXHIBIT DESIGN

Step 1. Persona & Story Making 

Going along with the inspiration derived from the future backcasting process, we created a persona called Eddie, and reconstructed three snapshots in his life as lifestory instances following the timeline we created previously. We aim to invite visitors to experience Eddie’s life moments in this exhibition, and raise questions toward this future history that Eddie has lived through. The picture below is the story narrative we created for Eddie, which also becomes the introduction label for our exhibit. 

0

Step 2. Experience Design 

The experience for the exhibit visitors is as the following:

Prelude

Visitors will see the exhibit introduction label and receive a little handbook.  These allow them to have an overview of the exhibit, as well as receiving instructions of how they can interact with the exhibit items.

0

Section 1

Visitors will enter section 1 of the exhibit. In this section, visitors will experience Eddie's life snapshot at 19 when he chose to do a gap year, and planned to travel abroad to experience the world. Eddie's first stop was Japan. The object label shown below explains the background story of this section in detail.

0

Visitors will see the physical hotel flyer as well as an inflated swimming pool sitting on a space simulating Eddie's house yard. Visitors can step into the swimming pool and experience the Japanese hotel's atmosphere projected on Eddie's house's exterior wall and fence. 

0

Section 2

Visitors will enter section 2 of the exhibit. In this section, visitors will experience Eddie's life snapshot in 2028, when he is 27. After graduation, Eddie became a software engineer. The object label shown below explains the background story of this section in detail.


0

In this second section of the exhibit, visitor are invited to experience what it feels like to go on a date with Abby. Provided is a portion of the original interactive experiences (a date at a coffee shop) that Eddie had while dating Abby. They are presented with a large screen TV with a table and chair in front. There is also a coffee cup and Pringles tin on the table.

  • When the visitor sit down, they will trigger a sensor that will began to play the beginning of Abby’s content. The first clip involves her arriving at the coffee shop.
  • Next by picking up the coffee cup, again triggering another sensor, Abby will raise her coffee cup as well as picking up the Pringles tin, triggering a sensor, Abby will ask the visitor to please open it for her.     
0

Section 3

Visitors will enter section 3 of the exhibit. In this section, visitors will experience Eddie's life snapshot at the age of 53. At this time, the experience sharing platform NetTube became popular, Eddie quit his job and became a freelance gamer. He mainly stayed indoors and depended on his subscriptions and purchases on NetTube to create his everyday memory by living in a simulated immersive reality delivered by NetTube’s Experience Gear Set. 

0


There are 3 groups of artifacts in section 3 that visitors can interact with, and each artifact has a label that explains the background story in detail.

  • NetTube Spring 2045 Catalogue 
0

Visitors can flip through the catalogue and read the content.

  • Experience Gear Set 3.0 + Experience Tokens/Reader
0
VR Image that Visitor Will See in Goggles for the Daily-life Experience Token
Dailylife.thumb
0

Visitors can observe Eddie's experience gear hanging next to the couch, place different tokens onto the scanner, and look through the VR goggles to see the preview view for each experience.

  • Monthly Payment Summary 
0

Visitors can review Eddie's payment summary for all his NetTube subscriptions and purchases.

Postlude

We hope that after experiencing all 3 sections of the exhibit, visitors will understand our intention for the exhibit design:

The three sections of this exhibition demonstrate the progression of how memory came to be commercialized. During this process, social norm also changed dramatically.

The first representative application of experience sharing and memory manipulation was a hotel commercial advertisement. Through projecting a luxury Japanese hot spring hotel environment onto prospective customers’ everyday surroundings. They can enjoy a simulated high-end hotel experience while continuing on with daily activities within a physical context. The purpose of this AR ad was to attract potential consumers through combining an ideal vacation experience with their real-life activities.

In 2028, popular influencers started to provide immersive interactive romance relationship content for subscribers. This was remarkable because it marked the beginning of the memory-sharing economy boom. Since then, people started to pursue virtual memory and simulated intimate relationships while ignoring real life experiences. Desires unfulfilled in the real world was actualized through digital human interactions. Also during this time, the legitimacy of virtual memory became a hot issue. Which memory was more valuable? Depressing real-world memory or simulated memory filled with happiness? The answer became ambiguous.

By 2045, Eddie had long since quit his day job and became a professional gamer of ten years. And thus, he spent most of this time at home. However, he still experienced a lot. Over the years, technology has advanced to the point of being able to support immersive experience documenting and sharing. People who can provide special memories are the new stars. Professionals and experts’ memories are usually more valuable. For them, memory-sharing has become a major source of incomes. However, ordinary people can also benefit from sharing memory.

Making a living through selling his own gaming experience on NetTube, Eddie also purchases memories that suit his needs. Besides buying popular memory products, such as others’ vacation and extreme sporting experience, he has also been subscribing to an average person’s life for three years. During this period, he lived a happy family life and experienced a lot of beautiful and memorable moments, such as getting married, celebrating anniversaries, companying “his” wife while she gave birth to “their” first baby. These memories are indispensable and invaluable to him; he can never let them go. A possible future for Eddie is to continue to subscribe to the same person, enjoy an “intimate life” with a family who never actually know him.


REFLECTION

One aspect we wish to improve our exhibit design is increasing visitor autonomy through a better curation. Although we provided the manual aiming to guide visitors going through the three sections by themselves, the entire experience is still not seamless: the interactive components within each section requires manual configuration after one visitor has experienced it. Also, some hardware keeps experiencing failures, and we have to intervene visitor’s experience to fix them.

In addition, since the majority of the provided materials are print-outs, it’s hard to control the sequence of viewing these prints. This results in confusions in the storytelling and the effectiveness of the offered interactive experiences that support the story. One way to improve this is using other multimedia, such as audio or video contents, to better guide visitor’s experience and provide a dynamic and clearer storyline.

Another point of improvement is the design of the spaces. We designed our three sections to be semi-closed, and visitors could see all three rooms all at once from the very beginning. This type of configuration diminishes the “surprise” feeling and in a way weakens the effect of storytelling by impeding visitors from experiencing the progression of the storyline. If we were to improve it, we could enclose the space for each section. 

x
Share this Project

Courses

48-528 Responsive Mobile Environments

· 9 members

The theme for 2018 will be the exploration of human memory and how digital and connected technology can support, augment, enhance, effect and alter the ways in which we remember, recount and reflec...more


About

With all the signals we found in the present time, we see a future world in 2045 where the commercial value of "personal experience" is widely accepted and a new economy model has emerged. Based on this vision, we created a persona called Eddie and reconstructed 3 snapshots in his life from now to 2045 for the exhibition. We invite visitors to consider the following questions: What happens when simulated reality becomes your entire reality and memories? What is the definition of happiness?