Innovation, possibilities and doing what’s right

Last week, one of the things I noticed being repeatedly mentioned across the interwebs was the TED video that showed Pranav Mistry demoing Sixth Sense, a tool he developed under the guidance of his advisor Patti Maes at MIT’s Media Lab:

I just read an interview with him, where one of his responses really resonated with me. The question was whether Sixth Sense was influenced by science fiction, especially in the manner that we are used to seeing it in movies like Minority Report or Robocop. Pranav said:

I’m not a very big fan of science fiction. I think that I’m a very big fan of living in the physical world. I’m good with digital technology, but I start to miss the physical world. I miss riding my bike, talking to friends. Technology now separates us from the physical world more and more. Even social networking sites are taking us away from the physical world.

At the lab, we like making things that we can touch, we can feel, we can take with us wherever we want to go, that we know how to interact with. The digital world has power because it has dynamic information, but it’s important that we stay human instead of being another machine sitting in front of a machine.Whatever science fiction movies we watch now, we can make the technology real in two days. What we can do is not important. What we should do is more important.

Re-read the last line.

Tim Malbon, one of the founders of Made By Many who is currently in Austin attending SXSW (lucky him), live-tweeted on Friday about a talk by Alex Bogusky that he was attending: 

As we move into a world where products and ideas will be cranked out at an amazing pace, let’s all remember not just what we can do – a lot, without a doubt – but what we should. Because we’re not robots or animals. That’s what makes us different. 

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