San Francisco filmmaker, TED talker, and expert meme-inventor Tiffany Shlain is back to explain the yin and yang of technology, this time with a new web series, The Future Starts Here, about our co-evolution with tech. The series premieres this Friday, October 11th for the AOL On Network. Here she defines some of her latest go-to terms.
Opticism: Skeptical optimism
Shlain Explains: "It’s a word that my husband and I made up. I'm not optimistic in a Pollyanna way, like technology is going to solve all our problems and that the future is going to be all sunny. I believe in humanity, but I believe that we need to stop and talk about these issues because we're not spending enough time thinking about the good, the bad, and the potential.”
In context: In The Future Starts Here, Shlain makes the case for a healthy balance between an optimistic and skeptical attitude towards tech.
Feasting: A nicer way to say “binge watching.”
Shlain Explains: "Binge sounds so obscene. It sounds like binge and purge. It's like we're giving everyone a visual food disorder. I don't like it.”
In context: Each episode of The Future Starts Here averages about 4 minutes long. You can watch each in succession and soak it all in at once.
A Screen Series: Not just a TV series, not just a web series, but a series you can watch on TV or computer or whichever device you desire. It's interchangeable.
Shlain Explains: "Where you watch things is so arbitrary these days. It really depends on how you want to experience them. I watch a lot of things on TV that are from the web. This series that I made for the web will be shown at a lot of theaters and conferences."
In context: Shalin sees The Future Starts Here as a screen series—as in, you can watch it on almost any screen available.
Technology Shabbat: A day of rest (from technology).
Shlain Explains: "I love technology, but I also know it's not good 24/7. That's not healthy. This is one day to unplug—no technology for one day every week. Just that one day re-invigorates me to engage with the world with a new perspective. My family and I have been doing it for the past 3 1/2 years."
In context: Being Jewish, Shlain interprets the essence of Jewish Shabbat in The Future Starts Here, by not using any “screens” or technology that may pull her away from being together.
Tech-Etiquette: Respectfully using technology in a way that honors the social contract.
Shlain Explains: “There are things that people are doing with technology that I think are kind of wrong, like there's a group of people not talking to each other and they're all on their phones."
In context: In her web series (sorry: screen series), Shlain lists technology faux-pas like “grandpa voice” (talking loudly on your cell phone), “shit talking” (talking on your cell while on the toilet) or being “textipated” (aggravated from too many texts or long emails).