António Cancela de Abreu - Senior Partner at Bliss

Conscious innovation

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Bliss Applications

Upon finishing college, my first application was to Linden Labs. This San Francisco company was the creator of the virtual community Second Life, a world for residents to create whatever digital life they want.

At the time, even knowing the world of e-sports, I believed that there was a future there – spaces where reality mixes with the digital and where the limitations of earthly life would become dependent only on our imagination.
Today we are one step away from this future. Combining mixed reality, gen AI and brain-computer interface will bring the concept and potential of Second Life to something that mixes, integrates, and confuses with our first life. Today, curiously, taking this step no longer appeals to me.

I still have a fascination with technological innovations – I look forward to experimenting and what’s coming excites me more than it scares me – but, thinking about the time we spend numb in front of a screen, it is certain that much of the application of these innovations will not be for our benefit. I am convinced that it is our duty as parents and professionals to ensure that these new developments work to bring us closer to what matters most and not the other way around, or that, at least, they give us back time to use freely with our people and with the real world that we face. surrounds us.
We know that big tech will dictate how humanity’s attention will be used. Unfortunately, much of this will be wasted, simultaneously reinforcing a thirst for greater information consumption and an intolerance to life at real speed. In this regard, knowing that this is the way forward, what we can do is cultivate a common awareness of the impacts of this inattention and try to create a balanced relationship between analog and digital.

We also know that these technologies will be used by companies in our corner of Europe, particularly in digital products and experiences that will impact the daily lives of the Portuguese.

To promote this transformation, we need to start stimulating the curiosity of our teams, have the openness to look at challenges with a new lens, leave room for experimentation, and foster a safe culture that tolerates the failure inherent to innovation.

For evolution to happen in the right direction, it is our responsibility to define a clear vision and principles that support the development of these new solutions – starting with ensuring data security and transparently transmitting the purpose of their use, we must exhaustively test what let’s put it on the street (not launch it just to make the brand appear innovative) and have the honesty to focus our efforts on satisfying existing needs and solving the problems that most impact our customers and consumers.

Written by António Cancela de Abreu, Head of Product Strategy and Design at Bliss Applications and originally published in LIDER Magazine.