Thinking ahead: The Hybrid Age

“We are living in a hybrid age,” explained Ayesha Khanna, Principal at the Hybrid Reality Institute, at the PSFK conference yesterday in New York City.   From the Stone Age to the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution and the Information Age, we’ve now entered into this Hybrid Age. Taking place over the next few decades, this time period will be defined by a handful of specific factors, Khanna elaborated:

  • Technological proliferation where we’ll see an increase of objects – including ourselves -  embedded with technology.
  • Technological intelligence where machines will become smarter, will respond to our needs and as a result, will become social.
  • Technological innovation that'll be constant and disruptive.

OK, so perhaps the fact that we’re heading in this direction is no surprise, but the essence of what Khanna was insinuating during PSFK’s “What’s Next? A Panel on the Future” session yesterday was that we’re currently evolving and adapting into a new hybrid reality as our everyday lives become more entrenched with technology.

A handful of other salient points from panelists whose work focuses on looking ahead:

  • Allison Mooney, Head of Trends & Insight at Google, expressed her interest in the evolving social relationship humans have with technology. She pointed to owners dressing up their Roomba vacuum cleaner and becoming more attached to them once they were costumed.
  • Katherine Moriwaki, Assistant Professor of Media Design at Parsons, stressed that artists and designers must have some understanding of the inner workings of technology and electronics in order to design for the future.
  • Greg Lindsay, the author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next and Fast Company journalist, expressed that we’ll continue to see increased urbanization and travel modalities, which will lead to a shifting relationship between transportation hubs, innovation, and metropolises.

These presenters not only provided a framework for envisioning how the world will shift over the coming years, but also helped set the stage for the rest of the day's speakers.

Image: Mark Strozier

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