We live in a time where the elaborate dreams of print and film are increasingly becoming reality. From non-invasive high-resolution imaging technology to virtual and augmented reality, and from cars that drive themselves to hardware that lets you control almost anything with mere hand gestures, technology is being realized at an astounding rate.In human terms, the recent, rapid development of technology has combined with ongoing societal transformation to fundamentally and continuously change the environment in which we live our lives. We live in a world where we no longer have enough time to adapt to the present before a new and different set of traits become favoured. As a result, our bodies and minds, which were optimized for a time long past, have been forced onto unfamiliar grounds. Fallout from the disparity between what we were designed to do and what is actually asked of us is evidenced by much of the frustrations people experience day to day.It falls to us then, as a species with the ability to consciously affect change in our environment, to work towards directing technological and societal development along a path more aligned with human nature. On a large scale, given our complexity and the subtle, often unbeknownst-to-us, effects of the environment, and even due to natural variation across different locations, this is a difficult if not impossible task. On a day-to-day scale, however, small informed changes can go a long way. For example, imagine the serenity if your telephone could automatically identify telemarketers and refused to ring when they call during dinner.
It is my goal as a member of the Interactive Media Lab to use the combined wisdom of the Applied and Social Sciences to inform the development of technologies that are functional and efficient, and which are intuitive and easy to use.
David Canella is a graduate of McGill University with a B.Sc in Psychology. He has been previously affiliated with Dr. Thomas R. Shultz’s Laboratory of Natural and Simulated Cognition at McGill, during which time he investigated the effects of Bayesian learning on the evolution of ethnocentrism using computer simulations. David is currently studying Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto and is a member of Dr. Mark Chignell’s Interactive Media Lab.
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