In the interview we did with David O’Reilly for this issue, he suggests that the world Spike Jonze presents in "Her" is not only one possible but, for all that, is not so far away. The reference is no accident, firstly because O’Reilly is responsible for some of the funniest moments in the film. Such as when, Theodore (Joaquim Phoenix) locked himself at home to play the video game created especially for the film by the Irish animator; and also, because the issue you are now holding began to take shape after watching this film. Will it be possible in the future to fall in love with an operating system? Will machines end up thinking for themselves, will they develop feelings, what would happen if they did, would they get bored and turn away from humans? Or would they rebel against humanity in a devastating conflict for us just like Stephen Hawkins has forecasted?
In any event, there are opinions to suit all tastes. Dennis Hong, founder of RoMeLa, a robotics laboratory based in Los Angeles, is less enthusiastic about artificial intelli- gence being developed to such an extreme. But that’s not what we want to discuss in this issue. It’s more about how we relate with technology, what use we make of it on a daily basis, how does it shape our behaviour and our relationship with what's surrounding us and how has it become such a powerful tool in our creative processes. Fashion, of course, is no exception, research into fabrics and 3D printing have led to major innova- tions for an industry with a production system (seasons, cruise collections, capsule col- lections and other initiatives designed to encourage consumerism) that’s beginning to fade away, among other reasons, because of the internet.
It's curious to see how with the internet today one is just a click away from being able to buy whatever you wish. On the other hand, it’s precisely this accessibility and overex- posure which provokes behaviours such as 'fauxsumerism’: one sees, labels, saves and makes endless lists of so many things, so many desires in the shape of products, that the crave to buy is many times reduced to a folder on one’s desktop full of images or a Pinterest profile. Buy without buying. How old it sounds: “I am what I wear”. How have we reached this point? Communicating with the world through our avatar? Is this how we thought the future would look like 30 or 40 years ago? Falling in love with virtual entities and dressing like our parents or grandparents? Embracing 'normcore’ while we devote ourselves to the latest technological gadget? Imagining 3D printed food?
Technological advances lead us to unsuspected paths as well as making us wish we could return to our origins, a less technical society in harmony with nature. Virtual ex- posure is exhausting and the attachment to social networks and information overload have raised the first warning voices. Writer Nicholas Carr’s is one of them. His reflec- tion on what internet does to our brains without being alarmist puts us on guard and gives clues about how we could evolve in the future. We talk with him here, too. Together with Heather Dewey-Hagborg, whose work makes us realise how exposed is our inti- macy without even realising it most of the times. There’s no doubt this has been one of the most exciting issues to put together. We hope you find it as interesting as we have.