3.2. Synchronizing Performance

Tuning of presence between people in real life and in merging realities is crucial to trust.
To be able to communicate people have to ‘synchronize’, tune their presence towards each other. In this tuning the body, carrier of and affected by sensations emotions and feelings, is crucial [14]. Often human beings do not even realize they are tuning with their body, while they actually do. Physical tuning also encompasses tacit knowledge [15]. Much of this information is currently lost in merging realities.

Technology deeply influences how people witness each other and experience each other’s presence. In mediated communication sensations and the sharing of feelings and emotions in distance and disembodied circumstances has limited potential. The grounds for trust change. Handshakes, for example, a very important type of tuning in human relationships, need to acquire a different presence. Presence of information on the will to agree, does not suffice, it does not represent the complex dynamics behind the moment of tuning/synchronization.

The potential to influence social structures through acting in ‘communities of systems and people’ in merging realities, referred to as ‘presence as agency’ is time dependent [16]. In most business environments, for example, there is a clear need to orchestrate on- and offline presence and absence. Clients, managers and workers in different places interact via phone, Internet, an email, with shared data sources. Synchronization is a requirement for trust within such environments [17]. Frequent interaction supports acquisition and maintenance of trust between co-workers. Data can also support the acquisition and maintenance of trust: data may be the result of witnessing or refer to witnessing and contribute to the understanding of current witnessing. Data themselves, however do not witness.

Sensations, emotions and more complex feelings are crucial indicators for human beings to steer towards their well-being and survival [18]. The amount of time needed to react to a new situation may vary considerably depending on state of mind, predicament, availability, time needed to react, etc. Time design must take this into account. Note that this also holds for timing between agents: time constraints on acting may influence the quality of the result (e.g. in Just-in-Time environments). Note also that in some situations in new merging realities human beings can purposefully tune their own presence having learned from the history of the community, following interaction and deciding how to pitch their own presence [9]. Human beings can choose to remain anonymous, as may other participants (albeit agents or other human participants). Synchronizing presence in such contexts requires specific design for developing trust in which momentum and effective transaction is crucial.

Frances Brazier , CN