In the past, architectural technology design has served to improve the standard of living. From better lighting and air quality to innovative tools that free up occupant time, technology has been evolving to help alleviate occupant repetitive tasks, and other painful environmental aspects. But what if technology could do more? What if it could actually help to not only remove the unwanted aspects of daily life, but could bring much benefit to the way people live their lives? What if architectural technology could enhance the quality of its occupants’ lives by actually improving their human potential?
I read an article recently that discussed the term “intelligence amplification” with regard to the evolving role of technology design. (1) This term relates to technologies that support and enhance human intelligence. For instance, what if augmented reality worn in contact lenses could provide you with just the right information at just the right time? Could this serve to “amplify” one’s intelligence?
The subject of “intelligence amplification” is an interesting one because it allows important questions to surface about how interactive and adaptive architectures (using technologies ubiquitously) can serve their occupants in more profound ways. For example, could an “intelligence amplification technology” help its user to “see” more, and thus, understand more about themselves, each other, and their surroundings?
By converging technology design with architectural design, building occupants can extract even more advantages from their environments. For designers, it is time to think beyond architectural technology that provides a “one-size-fits-all” state of comfort – to think in terms of the dynamic needs and goals of building occupants. One may ask: How can architectural technology design be used to advance human potential? In other words, how can environments nurture occupants to become the best versions of themselves?
We need to go beyond “intelligence amplification” – to reach beyond intelligence into more dimensions that make up the whole human. After all, if architectural design is successful, it touches all of its occupant’s senses in a way that uplifts their life quality, in the moment and over time. Thus, as environments evolve with new and advancing technologies – their application can inform, encourage, and uplift what humans can do. Thus, technology which “amplifies” should be thoughtfully integrated into environments to help occupants with aspects like decision-making and goal attainment. Architectural design is at the core of this evolution, where it guides how technology can best nurture those occupants who experience its benefits.
(1) DMello, Alvin. The Rise of the Humans: Intelligence Amplification Will Make Us As Smart As the Machines. DeepStuff.org. October 17, 2015.
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