My friend, Emil Mertzel, and his business partner Nick were recently published in a Taiwanese design journal. The article is available from their website, at this link (down at the moment that I am posting, but I’m sure it will be back up eventually).
I sent Emil the following e-mail after reading the article:
So, basically, you’re describing the process by which we put ourselves into The Matrix without the need for robots to stuff us in there
I think you make some interesting points about the role of architects in a world where physical space is starting to be de-emphasized. Your example of the call centers in India where the workers practice their Midwestern accent and make up suburban lives was excellent. Do architects move to constructing the mental spaces that people begin to occupy? I mean, there’s already a whole field of information architecture, which is all about constructing mental structures of information that are compatible with how people think, in analogy to constructing physical structures that are compatible with how people live.
There’s also a lot of work to be done in developing the tools to let people construct their own virtual worlds. I’ve been fascinated by such possibilities since I was introduced to MUDs (multi-user domains) in high school. Making the tools easy enough to use such that everybody can construct the virtual structures that they envision is a daunting task. Or maybe that level doesn’t need to be reached; after all, we don’t expect people to design and build their buildings in real life.
Definitely some interesting stuff there. I’ll be thinking about it.