The Third Self: Design Innovations’ Next Muse
In 2001, our idea of The 3rd Self a precursor to the next almost 20yrs of efforts in artificial intelligence systems began. The idea, connected to the first BBS, called a Computerized Bulletin Board System (CBBS) in 1978 was where real people created useful avatars of themselves via something as simple as a username and where, possibly, our Second Self was born. It was that 2nd Self ( all the data we started generating for our user name(s) and that was connected daily and directly to us ) which was a drop in the ocean of the wave that was to come next.
Fast forward to 2023 and now, with widely accessible Ai ( the image for this article came from just asking for an image of ” the third self ” from a Generative Ai image creation system ) not to mention the almost ” sentient ” conversational Ai systems that are at the ready on just about any device imaginable. More we are interacting with said systems through beta version of @Amazon’s Alexa like voice interfaces which are being brought online everyday. Systems like @Microsoft’s Bing and @Google’s Bard not to mention @Facebook Meta’s BlenderBot are only the begging of western nation capabilities and full system functionalities that chat openly with humans and about any topic imaginable ( in what seems like the Turing Test being beaten ) but which can also, in some cases, fully augment the design and engineering capabilities that we all struggle with every day – the infinitely complex time consuming tasks that we spend our days on. With such systems means the world has radically changed. Almost overnight. Almost.
We have jumped ( with the advent of readily accessible and tremendously powerful Ai systems available and at NO costs to users at this point ) from a clunky 8088 PC experience to a Macintosh world, a ” smart ” cell phone to the iPhone 1, seemingly, in the blink of an eye. A 70yr blink to be safe to say. With additional and almost incomprehensible capabilities of such Ai systems that can ” write a @WhatsApp message to my sister about options for vegetarian dishes made with pumpkin ” to ” create me an dynamic trading day trading algorithm based on the following criteria…. ” to ” imagine a series of high gloss black chairs based on the shape of a @Steinway&Sons Grand Piano ” coming online every second, it seems we are most likely days away from each and every person having their own, self aware ( and created from our own individual data: eg. your tweet from yesterday, a Facebook post from last week, An Instagram photo from last month, etc., ) being right at your fingertip. It’s been in the labs for years. Now it’s about to be in your pocket. It will be in your wireless earbuds. It will soon be in your fully integrated AR/VR headsets and then embedded into your in-eye Ar/Vr contact lenses not even 20yrs away: they are fully working and in clinical human trials now as we speak.
Shortly, you will be able to have yourself speak directly to you if you wish, or with all your knowledge and data & experiences, have Leonardo Da Vinci speak to you in his voice. Or do the same, with all his experiences and yours combined. Or just speak to you with his alone. As our Third Selves have always been available to us, we may just never have been able to talk directly to it. We may have never been fully aware of it yet. But we will be. We will be.
Apple’s new and very wearable Ar/Vr headsets are due out this year, 2023, 16 years after iPhone 1 was launched on Jan 2007 and the typical, radical, 20yr technological shift is right on track. And, with this new technology, new interfaces will be needed. The next wave of end user consumer electronics and technologies are about to be a fully integrated digital extension of ourselves who we talk to, work with, have fun with and which will, most likely, outlive us for others to also interact with when we are gone. Our inaugural Third Self, our own, personal 3rd selves, for each and every one of us to interact with is just a monthly subscription model away, and we, as curious humans, won’t be able to resist. A fully new frontier is about pop into existence where we will boldly go where ( humanity ) has not gone before.
Did this radical and truly disruptive design ( and as tautological overkill, this disruptive innovation ) 3rd Self just come our of no where? From a eureka moment? Only in it’s idea and naming, but certainly with more than 70yrs of giant’s shoulders to stand on and where in 2015, and with substantial funding, @OpenAi was founded in San Francisco by 6 lead investors collectively to the tune of $1B in capital which has gotten OpenAi to where it is in 2023 – giving us the tools necessary to launch our 3rd Self for each of us. The capabilities necessary to bring our Third Self into being, a 3rd persona ( for a user and by a user with each of our past interactions intact and for any and all electronic devices that we have touched ) means a completely new way of thinking, acting, working, and living. Are we ready for such design power at all our fingertips ? Can we even begin to ” … Think About Our Different Styles of Thinking ? ” and how our 3rd Selves will be created by and for us ? In the above article ( https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/01/16/how-should-we-think-about-our-different-styles-of-thinking ) by @joshuarothman asks all the right questions: do we even know what to do with such power ? And, what does this mean for how our new selves, our Third Selves, who interface directly with us daily will help us design and build the products and services that come from our extra minds that we are each just about ready to bring online at the push of a button ?
With such a radical shift having seismically hit us all ( there isn’t hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of GTP3 and OpenAi by now ) how does such a groundbreaking ( and lengthy 2015-2023 or 8yr journey and again, based on at least 8 previous years before 2015 of rapid technological efforts: government backed education and R&D commercialization efforts ) emerge when more recently the notion that a muse cannot just misalign multiple methods randomly? A muse does not just show up. Not like the muse ( the technology ) of the 3rd Self. This begs us to understand that innovation is not just about seeing the farthest or even the most and/or as rapidly as possible ( that is the department of wild winds ) rather it’s the way the most possibilities are connected in a specifically cohesive alternative way for useful outcomes to coalesce and emerge. For code to be written for specific problem solving to take place. For design typologies to emerge. For architectural systems to come in to being and thus products to be produced from all of the above.
We are at a similar cross roads like the 1st days of the 1st web browser, Mosaic, being launched publicly in Jan 1993 with today’s 1st glimpses of the coming AGI ( Artificial General Intelligence ) breakthrough innovations happening right before our eyes.
Our 3rd Selves are right around the corner.
Our Third Self is just about to be born.