Last month I attended AIAA's Aviation Forum in Dallas, Texas. If you know me well, you know I love all things aviation from flying, to air traffic control, to airport design. The Aviation Forum is one of my favorite events of the year and this year was no different. Front and center throughout the week was the concept of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). If you're unfamiliar with the concept, think "The Jetsons," small aircraft zipping you from point to point throughout and between cities and suburban areas. Ready or not, here it comes!
While UAM may be in its infancy, there's no shortage of companies and organizations working to ensure its success, and for good reason. The UAM industry is estimated at a $500B market value. Critically though, if it's not done right the first time, it may be even further off than anyone realizes. The implementation of UAM is wrought with technical, logistical, policy, and infrastructure challenges. The biggest challenge however, is likely not with any of the components of the new system, but with society's acceptance (or lack thereof) of flying in small, unpiloted, automated aircraft. That's right. No pilot. You hop in, enter your destination, and off you go. I, for one, am all about it and can't wait until it becomes mainstream. That may be some time off, however. As automation continues to creep further into our lives, research, and probably your own personal experience indicates just how reluctant humans are to accepting automation and how long adoption into the mainstream can take.
But, if you think about it, elevators used to have operators and are now fully-automated. Passenger jets are about 95% automated but we still have at least 2 pilots at the controls. Trains or trams are becoming fully automated, particularly at airports. Do you think twice before you get on the tram shuttling you between terminals in Dallas, Orlando, Atlanta, or countless other airports across the globe? Cars and trucks are on their way to being fully-automated but I bet there are some steadfast concerns about getting into a fully-automated car or driving on the road alongside fully-automated cars. What is it that holds us back and prevents our unyielding trust in automation?! Failure. Accidents. Injury. Death. Ask Boeing. Those are simply the most headline-grabbing examples. Other examples you may not think of such as brand recognition, concern for dangerous or unruly passengers, privacy, presence or lack of a flight attendant, and cost are all part of the society's reluctance to accept UAM in the short term and hurdles that must be overcome. This is a great Market Study put together by our friends at Booz Allen Hamilton investigating such barriers to acceptance.
UAM has the opportunity to revolutionize the way we travel but it needs to be done right and it needs to be done well. It's entirely possible I won't even see UAM go mainstream in my lifetime, but it's certainly fun to consider the possibilities. What are you most concerned or excited about with automation becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives!?
Also… just look at how cool this is, https://lilium.com/.
Last month I attended InfoComm 2019 in Orlando, FL. InfoComm is the "largest audiovisual and integrated experience event in North America." Why did my bosses make me go? Well, at the time, we didn't know, but the goal was to explore how other industries are approaching the user experience through technological innovations and see if there is potential benefit for training, human factors intervention, and/or human performance assessment. Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) have become popularized by the entertainment industry, boosting interest and technological advancements, and look where they are being used now. I came across a few potential products, such as a carbon fiber mesh screen that generates holographic images with the use of a projector, which provides 3D visualizations without the need of glasses. Can you see the benefit?
On the exhibit floor, InfoComm offers free educational sessions at their Center Stage. There I learned about how a Fortune 500 copper mining company was using digital signage to connect its workforce in the field. Through its application, safety has improved and communication is more effective across the local, regional, and national levels. Their representative made an interesting comment about content novelty: one of the most effective ways to ensure employees pay attention to signs was to make sure the content was regularly updated and fresh. How can that concept be applied to the training industry?
Another session discussed how classrooms in over 60 schools across Manatee County, FL were revitalized with new displays and tablets. The concept was to update decade old-technology with modern equipment to better serve digital natives. The most important thing I got from this, which is something we at QIC champion as well, was that they weren't simply replacing physical white boards with digital ones, but were leveraging the technology to engage students by presenting the learning content in various ways, such as short videos or interactive exercises. The experience of learning is just as important as the content being learned, and this technology allowed them to create individual learning experiences for their students. How are you helping generate individualized learning experiences?
The takeaway is not to get stuck in your view of the world. There are many facets to a problem, each requiring a different perspective. Step outside and see what everyone else is up to, it will broaden your mind and fuel the spark for innovation.
We're thrilled to announce that our very own Kati Anglin has completed all of the requirements of the Human Factors Psychology Ph.D. program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is now Dr. Katlin Anglin! Congratulations Dr. Anglin!!
Dr. Anglin's dissertation examined individual differences and sensor-based performance measures to predict Army Basic Rifle Marksmanship proficiency. Dr. Anglin continues to focus her efforts in marksmanship by leading an Army effort to develop a support-by-fire team weapon engagement assessment. At QIC, Dr. Anglin has developed predictive models of human performance, performed data analytics, wire-framed mockups, and conducted user research and testing. She has supported projects for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, and the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division.
I recently read an article entitled “The Information Age is over; welcome to the Experience Age” (Wadhera, 2016). What is the Information Age that’s supposedly old news now, and what is this new “Experience Age”?
The world is at our fingertips. We can search on Google for just about everything and anything. The Information Age, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the period of time where information is widely and rapidly shared and is easily accessible. Technology facilitates this rapid dissemination to consumers of information and from consumers of information. Rote memorization is no longer required to function efficiently in the modern era. Technology facilitates cognitive offloading and the assumption is that people are now free to pursue endeavors more fruitful in nature. Read: they can go and learn all the things now. They can become knowledgeable in all the areas that they desire! The information is accessible! We are in the Information Age currently, however, there is a new age that has been aggressively looming: The Experience Age.
What is it? At its core, the Experience Age marks a time in which an experience, emotional or otherwise, is the outcome that is most valued. Storytelling is a prominent way in which information is conveyed. For example, the eLearning Guild just posted a blog and video of the 2019 Keynote about digital storytelling which can be intertwined with “actionable insights” (Thurston, 2019). Storytelling can paint a robust picture of an event. In the tech-savvy world, storytelling is most often achieved through video. Take, for instance, the mouth-watering videos produced by Tasty. Rather than providing you a dull, text-heavy recipe, Tasty wants to show you how to make the food. It works. They have over 31.4 million followers on just one social media platform alone.
Reality in the moment is paramount in the Experience Age. Accuracy of information is less of a focus and rather than researching information ourselves, we are beginning to allow someone else tell us the answer by experiencing it through their experiences. This “let me feel with you or let me feel for you” can be seen through accounts of shared experiences bringing strangers together. The bond formed from a shared experience is strong. These are most often seen after natural disasters when communities rise up and work together, the camaraderie formed in stressful environments like the military, or in times of new and difficult endeavors (e.g., a cohort in graduate school). Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook Live, and to an extent, Twitter all facilitate rapid dissemination of experiences as information. Clearly, while the benefits can be seen, this also allows for the problem of “fake news.” For example, the anti-vaccination movement is garnering strength in numbers over the past several years, even after hundreds of peer-reviewed, scientifically-based articles have been published regarding the lack of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine (Rao & Andrade, 2011). What is causing consumers of information to favor one source of information over another? Is it the strong emotions elicited through the prolific sharing of experiences?
It is said that the Information Age was marked by the massive collection or storage of information flooding in from all directions. From a social standpoint, users updated others via a “status”, which was quite static, mostly words, maybe a few emojis or gifs at that point. Now, a large percentage of users update others via a temporary, short video or picture, an instantly consumable snippet of their lives. The “highlight reel” if you will. The temporary part is, I think, the most important aspect here in the Experience Age. The “products” being produced by users are fleeting, momentary, and they are incredibly efficient at sparking strong emotional responses from others because they are “real.” They are relatable and believed to be true (hence my quotes around “real”) because they are actually happening to real people!
We must always use our powers for good and not evil. The Experience Age, with the rise of powerhouse social media platforms (e.g., Instagram), gives a voice to those who may not otherwise have one, provides support in far reaching places to those who are lost, and empowers individuals to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors whereby they might not have considered the idea. We are no longer bound by the “static-ness” of statuses. We can live on the internet, leveraging instant and moment-by-moment updates through either short-lived videos or 280 characters. Now for my academic, scientific brain to have a moment here. What does this do for learning? QIC’s very own CEO – Dr. Jennifer Murphy, was just in Norway at the Nordic ADL Conference where members from Advanced Distributed Learning discuss the modernization of learning among other areas of interest. What does this so-called Experience Age do to the modernization of learning?
How can we utilize this shift to fuel peoples’ desire for facts and for information that will lead to the acquisition of knowledge and skills? How can we leverage current and future tools of Experience to better humanity? It is time for a paradigm shift, and we need to be adaptable in order to thrive.
By the way, have you checked out QIC's social media pages?
We’d love to know your thoughts! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. We’d be delighted if you fully embraced the Experience Age and told us how you feel with an Instastory.
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Wadhera, M. (2016). The information age is over; welcome to the experience age. TechCrunch. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2016/05/09/the-information-age-is-over-welcome-to-the-experience-age/
Thurston, B. (March, 2019). Digital storytelling doesn’t have to be boring. Learning Solutions Conference & Expo, Orlando, FL. Retrieved from https://www.elearningguild.com/conference-archive/index.cfm?id=9710
Martens, B., Aguiar, L., Gomez-Herrera, E., & Mueller-Langer, F. (2018). The digital transformation of news media and the rise of disinformation and fake news. Digital Economy Working Paper 2018-02; Joint Research Commission Technical Reports.
Rao, T. S. S., & Andrade, C. (2011). The MMR vaccine and autism: sensation, refutation, retraction, and fraud. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 53(2), 95-96.
I'm not going to plug specific technology vendors here, but if you want a full list of the highlights from companies that launched products at AWE, this is a good roundup. I will say that once I got how far this technology has come so fast, it was a little breathtaking. I'm not sure where we officially draw the line between "emerging" and "established" technologies, but if we haven't crossed that line yet with MR, we're really close.
I'm probably overly optimistic about the role that technology will play in our future. This is not because I am an expert in AI, machine learning, or spatial computing, however. (I'm not.) It is because as a psychologist, I have a solid foundation in understanding how bad people actually are at making decisions, and I'm looking forward to when I get to make fewer of them, or at the very least have a robot to blame for outcomes I don't like. The key to us being able to interact with technology on a personal level is this Mirrorworld, with AR as our portal to it.
I absolutely love all the learning conferences we attend, but to be able to put aside that lens for a few days really helps frame my thinking about how we'll increasingly interact with MR in the future. The vision isn't to use AR and VR to train until you are proficient enough to take the glasses off. The vision is to keep the glasses on. Will learning itself ever be obsolete? No, but we will have the opportunity to learn and create in ways we've yet to imagine.
Sure, you can learn with AR and VR, but they're not just "learning technologies." They are also marketing technologies, entertainment technologies, communication technologies, creative technologies, industrial technologies, and health care technologies. What's the common denominator? The person in the middle and how they interact with the technology.
These posts are written or shared by QIC team members. We find this stuff interesting, exciting, and totally awesome! We hope you do too!