Today, there's an app for everything. They help us satisfy our cravings, allow us to communicate at all times and make it easier to share special moments. But the dark, cold screens of our smart phones, the de facto platform for these tools, simply don’t resonate with the sensorial aspects of our human needs.

What if we try to make our apps more sensitive? How can we extend our senses to make our apps work without a smart phone? This was the challenge for a group of participants of the Mexican education platform emerge MX. Together, we used the Pyramid of Technology to imagine a more natural version of our everyday apps.

Inspired by animals with extraordinary senses such as electroreception (sharks), tetrachromacy (mantis shrimp) and super sense of smell (moths), each team developed a new idea of how four different apps may work: Instagram, Tinder, WhatsApp and Rappi (a local food delivery service).

Envisioning the future of apps

The first team imagined WhatsApp as a neckpiece that would send and receive electrical signals translated into emotions, taking emojis to a naturalized level.

The Tinder team envisioned a bracelet that constantly measures our heart rate, sweating, dopamine and oxytocin levels. It then matches our results with nearby candidates that may be felling the same about us.

The Instagrammers went wild and created two scenarios. The first one involved eye drops that added tetrachromatic, ultraviolet and termic vision filters directly into our eyes. The second idea applied a layer of virtual reality filters projected on top of our surroundings.

Finally the Rappi team imagined a molar that works in conjunction with our smartphones spraying the smell and taste of the food we are watching on our screens, then interpretes our reaction and immediately sends our desired dish to our doors.

Uncontrollable nature

But not everything in these futures was perfect. The teams were also challenged to think on how these devices would get out of our hands and become uncontrollable. Using the 'Doomsday card' (one of the 'Question Cards' to the stimulate debate) they envisioned a WhatsApp that would share emotions we would prefer remain private; a Tinder that would eliminate the romance of relationships or that would expose aspects of our sexuality that we may prefer keep for someone special; an Instagram that would slowly blind us as we evolve, making our biological eyes a vestigial organ; and a Rappi app that may fail and spray a toxic substance into our mouths putting our lives at risk.

The Pyramid of Technology

The Next Nature workshop offered a platform for the exploratory thinking exhibited above. Altogether we achieved a deeper understanding of what technology is and how it can become more human. It also reminded us that it could quickly become a natural force out of our control and become a next nature.

The Pyramid of Technology is the next nature tool to facilitate this process. Would you like to attend, or host such a workshop? Well, we recently started the NNN Academy! Through interactive workshops, we explore what it means to build, design, and live in the next nature. Facilitated by our Pyramid of Technology Toolkit, and led by a trained NNN guide, the workshops offer a new way to discuss technology, facilitate brainstorms and catalyze innovative processes. Want to know more? Then visit this page!

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