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Immersive Future: Everything to be Created

Kowsheek Mahmood, Senior Engineering Manager at Adobe, joined SlavConf Decipher with an inspiring lecture on the immersive future. He began with a manifest: No more screens! According to Mahmood, the creative vision of immersive art has been overtaken by the sole idea of creating more and more screens, which is ultimately isolating the user rather than acting as an inclusive mediator. Kowsheek believes this pattern has been impeding actual creativity.

“I am sure you have seen a lot of technology and products from different vendors which essentially brings screens closer and closer to your face. But I wonder if you feel that you are in the future? Because, to me, it feels like our approach for developing immersive technologies is based on one premise which is that we should make more screens. And because we can’t escape them, we consider those experiences to be immersive. Well, it’s true you can forget yourself in the screens, but I believe it’s not really expanding human experience and we are not more immersed in our environment, we are less engaged and less immersed from the environment and the people around us”

Kowsheek shared a personal story illustrating the reasons behind his devotion to the creative industry and how he managed to find his place in it:

“Several years ago, I used to work in the financial technology vertical in Toronto which is something fundamental to what we do here. There are big banks where almost everyone works and there are services that service those banks so there is so much infrastructure in the banking system. No one wants to touch these systems and servers because it’s hard to experiment with people’s hard earned money, the risks involved are too high. There are systems that are 50 years old that no one knows how to build and extend. So that industry is completely impossible to innovate on and this is why I left that industry because I felt that my impact was very very small.”

He continued his story by making comparison to the low level of creativity and freedom that could be experienced in an environment which does not have the means and opportunities to envision the future using technological progress.

Mahmood shared his vision for the future and the impact Adobe has been building for creatives:

“Based on conversations with my coworkers and my boss who are visionaries, we want to give people more freedom. I believe that if immersive technology is not giving you freedom, it’s not the right approach. The more freedom we can experiment with, the more truly immersive things we can build.[…] If we build in this direction, I believe that eventually we will be free from the screens and we will be able to build better solutions for the people around us and for the next few generations to come. But with so much technology out there with 3D graphics, how do you get started making a mark?”

Furthermore, he explained which are to him the best strategies to develop creative solutions and implement ideas which would shape the future of the next generations:

“I recommend rapid experimentation by building immersive experiences for yourself. […] Building them you will come to see that there are a lot of assumptions being made. […] But I would suggest that you would reject all those assumptions. Because as you can reject those assumptions, you can start exploring the possibilities beyond them. […] Breakthroughs will happen and it may come from any of us. Because I think we have to think differently than what the industry thinks about and how they approach things.”

Finally, he closed the lecture giving some tips on the current state of the industry, what is trending and what could be helpful for future startups and content creators.

And a very good advice for fellow visionaries:

“Let’s keep building with humans in focus because that’s what makes our lives better. I think without keeping the human in the center of the conversation about any technology we build, we lose perspective and start building for just the technology’s sake and not for what the purpose of technology is, which is to serve humans and to make our lives better.”

Read the full material in the upcoming Impact Report 2023

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