On Being an Experience Architect

What will our lifestyle be like inhabiting Mars? How can we take you into the latest fantasy film for real? How do you face death and live to tell about it? All sorts of solutions can be imagined.  Most likely, there has been a Hollywood movie about the possibilities.  How do you make that future a reality? Hire an Experience Architect.

Inventing the future

The difference between what Experience Architects do and what a futurist do is the difference between life and death. People’s lives will depend on what Experience Architects create. Where the futurist paints a compelling story about where we might be. An Experience Architect is actually inventing the future using emerging technology to push human experience to all new levels, yet keep participants competely safe. To do so, we need to engage all aspects of their physical, virtual and imagined reality as one world.


Mixing Realities for the Shared Creative Imagination

In our work, we are looking at real world and off-world problems like how isolation will disable astronauts inhabiting Mars. Yet, those deep-space explorers, living decades into the future, have yet to be born. When starting to invent theme park innovations 10 years ahead means the youngest attendees have yet to be born. In developing human performance for the future warfighter, the DoD looks 20 years ahead when the recruits are only 18 years old. Those recruits have not been born yet. How do you design for those who have yet to be born when the state-of-the-art technology is constantly and rapidly changing?

Liberating the Imagination

While radical innovation is constantly changing the way we do business, the human being evolves very slowly. What the Experience Architect focuses on is the inner-workings of the human being and how do we exploit the emerging technology to push human limits that have yet to be challenged? The key to discovering new limits of human performance is to dive into the deepest levels of the imagination. We are not trying to capture the imagination, we are working to liberate the imagination by engaging the audience as an equal partner.

We have just begun to realize how much more humans can achieve here on earth by not assuming we already know. With virtual prototypes, we can safely test creative leaps into future experiences today. We begin to understand what novel techniques can amplify the impact of future technology. However, its not all about design and technology. Its about both the art and science of expanding the human creative participation rather than trying to pacify them as the media becomes more mesmerizing.

Full Immersion

As Experience Architects, we use all the participant’s senses, in all dimensions, in all directions and all realities (real, virtual & imagined) as one world. That is how our mind and body has evolved and we use simulation and virtual worlds to safely push our perception of reality to do what we couldn’t, shouldn’t and wouldn’t in real life. Virtual Worlds start as a prototyping tool for collaboration that integrates the insights of diverse experts to produce an experience we have never thought was possible.  As we apply these simulated experiences into varying applications, our understanding forms a heuristic of Human Experience Modeling (simulation, capture and analysis) extending our natural abilities. We then apply this innovative tool in each application to see how we can transform lives, save lives, inspire lives, or prepare lives. Instead of extending human limits, we actually help people overcome their own perceived limitations to make life more extraordinary.

As we transform technology; technology transforms us

Each generation seems to start integrating innovations earlier and earlier to reinvent their future social lifestyle. In the case of expanding the capabilities of Virtual Worlds,the whole world is rapidly innovating, simultaneously.  This has never been experienced with a technological innovation before. No one country will lead all the innovative process as before.  Virtual Worlds will transform us in different ways across the global society. This will transform life faster and more drastically. This will begin with those being born within homes instrumented with Virtual Reality as a powerful learning tool. This generation will become the “Virtual Natives.” They will be the children of the amazing generation of parents called the “Digital Natives.” We know them as gamers, bloggers, e-commerce entrepreneurs. With the power of virtual learning landscapes in the home, they will out perform all the generations before. This is where we can begin to change the world for the better by preparing this Virtual Learning Lab for the home. This involves engaging the parent as a teacher.

Designing for the Virtual Native

To design for those who have not been born yet, we look inward to the intricacies of the human experience to see how we naturally feel, think and do things. How do we leverage our hearts, hands and heads to develop empathy with reason to engage each other? How does this technology make us not into super humans, but make us more of who we have always been, but fulfilling more of our true potential? This advancement of being a Virtual Native has as much potential to unite us as to divide us if we don’t think of the integrating Virtual Worlds for all.

Bridging the Virtual Divide

We are beginning to collaborate with organizations such as the Virtual World Society and Goodwill Industry to explore how we can more rapidly advance the human experience for all of society. We need to explore, design and develop all new enablers for this future Virtual Native to lay the ground work to discover the best of what innovation has to offer society. This is not a generational thing, its a paradigm shift for all of society to learn. The future generations will learn to leverage the power of Virtual Worlds to unlock minds and link hearts to innovate a better world.

This takes a forward-thinking Experience Architect to help parents, employers, merchants and leaders to prepare for this tsunami of innovation to transform technological disruption in the liberation of human potential. This will be a matter of learning how to think like a Virtual Native.

Learn more in the release of my latest talk given at the Assembly Required Conference, in Baton Rouge to inspire new possibilities with “How to Think Like a Virtual Native.”

Christopher Stapleton
Co-Founder www.VirtualWorldSociety.org @VRWorldSociety
Experience Architect and Producer, www.Simiosys.com @Simiosys
Twitter  @Mixing Realities
SKYPE: Simiosys
Profile: www.linkedin.com/in/christopherstapleton/
Publications: www.researchgate.net/profile/Christopher_Stapleton/publications 

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