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Futurism, Steampunk, and Technology with a Sense of Humor

I just read a great article Being More Human: Intel’s resident futurist on how the steampunk culture offers clues to building a better tomorrow. In it, Brian David Johnson (Intel’s futurist) had many very interesting things to say — all of which are well worth reading. This statement stood out:

Steampunk reveals three relationships that people want with their technology. First, they want their technology to have a sense of humor. Humor and jokes give us a way to connect with and understand each other. Also, humor is a great cultural indicator that we understand each other. Studies show that if I can make you laugh, you not only think I’m smarter but also feel a deeper human connection to me. If we want to have a closer relationship to these technologies that are filling our lives, it makes sense that we would want them to get our sense of humor and make us laugh.

Until reading this article I had never connected the whimsical and the technological inherent to Steampunk’s art and culture to my own interests. Upon reflection, it’s quite obviously there.

Johnson speaks to something very important to me in the work I am doing: Play is intimate and relational. Increasingly, we will look to our technology to support our humanity in our connectedness. Playful rather than only productive technology is a path to that new world.

(Image borrowed from Steampunk Pacman.)

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