If I could be remembered for one thing, half of me wants to be remembered for making a positive change on the world, the other half would rather like to just disappear into history, to be part of the collective human spirit.
Today we spent #5MinutesWith Joss Sessions, Cyborg Anthropologist and founder of SlashDot Studios. Joss lives 'on the right side of the Pennines'. Thanks for joining us Joss!
Cool sounding title! But what exactly is a Cyborg Anthropologist?
Don’t worry, few other people know what that is either! I study, examine and explore humans relationship with technology. The term is based on an idea that we as humans are cyborgs because we rely on technology for every part of our lives to enhance the human experience.
A good example of this is the clothes we wear- they are some of the earliest examples of humans adopting a form of technology to enhance the skin’s ability to keep the body warm. Furthermore, how the materials are sourced, manufactured, distributed, worn and disposed of is directly linked to the forms of technology that is utilised to improve the process, constantly applying advancements to develop the process.
My typical day...
I try not to have a 'typical' day as repetition takes me into a rut. I split my time between Leeds and Manchester so that I can access as many points as possible, spending my days researching, doing necessary admin, working on the company engine - Container, winding someone up, thinking (which is often misread as day-dreaming or procrastination) and if I’m lucky, making something.
Technology advancement can often feel as if it all consuming, creating both utopian and dystopian futures, but what matters to me most, is what is in front of me.
The ultimate globalisation tool, the internet is creating economies of scale, knowledge and wealth transfer that are not strictly limited to currency but expanding into the sharing economy, the environment and the arts. But our needs are the same as the 15th century; what is the individual’s purpose, how do we provide for ourselves, our families and future?
I have applied my research to build SlashDot Studios and an engine I envisage for today’s and tomorrow’s world. Our mission is to 'create', to do good. How you as the individual determines what is good depends on the context given its subjective nature.
I bet you wish you never asked. More tea?
My most memorable work moment...
Was in a previous career 'life' when I was a video designer for theatre and live events. I was fortunate enough to work with Chorus pro Musicia and USA Boston Philharmonic Orchestra to stage Joseph Haydn:The Creation. I created some 200 bespoke motion graphics which I projection mapped huge organ pipes that dominate the space in Jordan Hall VJing (mixing video live much like a DJ mixes music) live to the conductor. In essence, I have not changed career, instead of constructing stylised fantasies on stage of human designs I am now designing systems to enable the arts and crafts sectors to be fairly rewarded for their works while making it commercially sustainable.
As seen often in the creative sectors, these creations can be applied to other sectors allowing everything to feed of each other, finding new ways of progress and creating a rich culture.
The best part of my job...
Constantly learning, having debates with people and constantly arguing with myself and being on the ground doing! It’s ok to be wrong, it ok to change your mind, its great to disagree with people but above all respect of each other is paramount.
There are a few Cyborg Anthropologists and most stay in academia to explore different things. But we are at such a moment in history that I didn’t want to get lost in academia but be out on the ground actually doing. Maybe later in my years I’ll head back.... Dr Sessions has a cool ring to it....
The worst part of my job...
...is finding myself in some very dubious areas of the internet, trying to understand reasonings behind what we see today, finding how so much is connected through a complex web interlocking of intricacies, feeding the darker elements of the human nature; often driven by greed by barons of power.
I sometimes wish i could just bury my head in the sand and sleepwalk through this revolution with the rest of the dai tau juk (the head down tribe).
If you could be remembered for one thing, what would it be?
Half of me wants to be remembered for making a positive change on the world, the other half would rather like to just disappear into history, to be part of the collective human spirit.
Who or what is your greatest love?
(starts singing) What is love?
Baby don’t hurt me,
Don’t hurt me
What food sums up happiness?
My mum’s Sunday roast.
What inspires you?
The ever changing landscape of life. The nature of how we live is changing as we come to terms with the latest wave of communication technology and what that enables us to do. With the agricultural and industrial revolution the modes of 'work' and 'play' are constantly evolving and transforming. We can learn a lot from the past, people such as John Ruskin, Alan Turin, Emmeline Pankhurst, and the Rochdale Pioneers of 1844, Martin Luther King and Ned Ludd to name but a few.
My greatest inspiration is the ever-changing landscape of life. The nature of how we live is changing as we come to terms with the latest wave of communication technology and what that enables us to do. With the agricultural and industrial revolution the modes of 'work' and 'play' are constantly evolving and transforming.
What's the best advice you've been given?
That idea you’ve just thought of, it’s already been thought of; how are you going to drill down to make it different?
If I weren't the founder of SlashDot Studios, my 'Plan ‘B'' would be....
Ey up, I’m Sessions, Joss Sessions, al ‘ave your finest ale. I’d Bond obvs saving the world from something whether or not that makes me the hero or the villain is up to you. As Ian Fleming once penned in 1953; History is moving pretty quickly these days, and the heroes and villains keep changing parts.
History is moving pretty quickly these days, and the heroes and villains keep changing parts. - Ian Fleming
What does The Federation mean to you?
Joining the Fed has been great. I’d been looking for a way to tap into the Manchester scene but somewhat put of by the present crop of co-working spaces. I’d visited the Fed on a number of occasions for a selection of their events, most notably the Federation Presents series that brought a really high level of debate about ongoing issues, which
attracted me to being part of this community.
What's your favourite quote?
"Technology is purely an element of time while time itself is an element of technology." - JMS.
Tell us a joke.
The oldest computer can be traced back to Adam and Eve. It was an apple but with extremely limited memory. Just 1 byte. And then everything crashed.
Follow Joss on Twitter to stay in the loop with his musings or head over to Slash Dot Studios to find out more about how they are recreating the internet.