Artistic Influences Explained
The purpose of this document is to reveal the source of artistic influence and inspiration from my own portfolio work and chosen discipline. This paper will examine my general discipline of work in the area of integration of innovative technologies into the iOS platform and how several outside artistic influences have established a foundation for future work and innovation in this area. Having chosen to pursue the thesis topic of mind-controlled systems for human-to-machine interaction with voice assistants, the original artistic influence can be explained by looking at these sources in closer detail.
Voice Assistants and Talking Machines
While working as an iOS Developer with Toyota and Honda, the nature of the work has often lead to the exploration of new technologies to implement into future vehicles. One of these technologies relates to the use of voice recognition and virtual assistants in the vehicle. Before working at Honda R&D, the fascination of talking to devices was prevalent in my own personal projects and experiences with iOS development. Besides voice recognition in the vehicle, a number of my own projects explored the area human-to-machine interfaces. The idea of communicating with machines was influenced by artistic and conceptual influences from watching movies such as the 1968 Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Specifically, the scenes relating to the interaction between HAL 9000 and David Bowman pushed my imagination to new levels (Kubrick, “2001: A Space Odyssey”).
(2001: Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1968. Film.)
The deeply conversational manner in which HAL 9000 conversed so intelligently with humans led me to engage in projects that explored the area of voice recognition and text-to-speech. Other areas of artistic and design influence came from television shows.
Being interested in vehicles and speech recognition, one can also see how the popular 1982 television series “Knight Rider” played an influential role in defining my discipline of study and work. The intelligent car called KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) became an influential part of my ideas for the future vehicle (Larson , “Knight Rider”).
(Knight Rider. By Glen A. Larsen. NBC, 1982-86. Television.)
The concept of speaking to a vehicle in an intelligent manner, just as the character Michael Knight did in the television series was an intriguing idea that may have eventually steered me into the direction of using virtual assistants in more meaningful ways inside mobile and future vehicle applications.
In 2009, I created a voice recognition program in C# that used voice input from the user to interact with a virtual R2-D2 model on the PC. The program was able to understand commands to perform movements on the screen such as moving forward, back, and turning left and right. Moving into recent years, I have been developing iOS applications that use the Siri voice recognition to interact with the user or initiate interactions on the screen without the necessity of touching the screen. Additionally in the design of interfaces, such as the one found on my own portfolio website at www.duanecash.com, one can see how earlier experiences with the HAL 9000, KITT, and the iPhone’s Siri have influenced the patterning of its visual aesthetics.
(Screenshot from http://www.duanecash.com. January 2013. Web)
While voice recognition can be an excited area to explore, the area of using brainwave patterns to produce mind-controlled machines is emerging as a viable method of human-to-machine interaction. While still in its infancy, the field of mind-controlled applications is becoming more real and attainable with SDKs and tools currently available to consumers. My own work in iOS application and game development and the exploration of virtual assistants has naturally led me to consider the idea of using the mind as a method of control for virtual assistants. My development experiences and knowledge in the area have now led me to believe that some of the ideas found in some popular movies, such as Back To The Future, can now be attainable with the right tools and technical implementations (Zemeckis, “Back To The Future”).
(Back To The Future. Dir. Robert Zemeckis, 1985. Film.)
Even seeing the character Dr. Emmett Brown wearing this giant headgear influenced my own perceptions of technology and visions for future interactive interfaces. In 1985, the notion of reading one’s mind in any manner was largely science fiction. Now over 25 years later, with the technology of brainwave recognition and analysis emerging into consumer products such as the Emotiv Epoc, the foundation necessary for using brainwave patterns to control other devices has arrived.
(Image of Emotiv Epoc headset. Emotiv.com. January 2013. Web.)
As my own work on a mind-controlled virtual assistant progresses, one can see how movies like Back To The Future and 2001: A Space Odyssey became an influential part of the design process. Each of these influences has shaped my perceptions of what a future mind-controlled virtual assistant could include and how best to implement some of the features.
By far, the most influential part of my pursuit of innovative interfaces comes from the advent of the Apple iPhone development and the visions stemming from the character of Steve Jobs. After his death in 2011, I viewed a video interview that offered great advice for me as a designer, developer and innovator in all my works. In a 1994 interview at the Silicon Valley Historical Association, Steve Jobs offered the following profound advice:
“When you grow up, you tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.
“The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will, you know if you push in, something will pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing. It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.
“I think that’s very important and however you learn that, once you learn it, you’ll want to change life and make it better, cause it’s kind of messed up, in a lot of ways. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
These inspiring words made a drastic impact on my thinking ever since the moment I heard them. Since then, my projects have aimed to reach higher and have largely been successful in improving the interactive experience and finding innovation from everyday sources. My current project on mind-controlled virtual assistants is the first step towards other interactive innovations I have in mind to imprint as my own mark upon the world.
Cash, Duane. duanecash.com. January 2013. Web.
Emotiv Epoc headset. emotiv.com. January 2013. Web.)
Jobs, Steve. Interview by the Silicon Valley Historical Association. “Visionary Entrepreneur.” 1994. DVD.
2001: Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. MGM, 1968. Film.
Knight Rider. By Glen A. Larson. NBC, 1982-86. Television.
Back To The Future. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Universal Studios, 1985. Film.