Daily Archives: November 29, 2012

Intriguing thoughts on designing (anything) for the future


Found floating thru my twitter stream, Mr. Boyd discusses  “Speculative Design.”  Worth the read.  Some quotes of interest:

Jeff Hammerbacher’s observation that ‘the best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads’.

So, if the best minds of the 90’s created derivatives, shall we expect the same dynamic of calamities from the current focus?

We shouldn’t think about the future as a smooth, comfortable extrapolation of the mundane. We are over that. We have moved into the post-modern, where new norms prevail. Some characterize our new world as VUCA: unsurpassed levels of volatilty, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.

Smooth sailing, no?

Is the political chaos and gridlock in the US a function of the liquifying political system? Our systems of governance are based on electing a very small number of people to represent all the rest. Can we cut out the middle man in politics like we have in buying books? What would web-mediated direct democracy work like? Feel like? Smell like? The Pirate Party in Europe is using a platform called Liquid Feedback, which is central to their inner workings, but is a speculative design for the rest of us.

Provocative thought!

Reconnecting people to their food will be huge.

And a means of “grounding” our local economies… Perhaps Boyd should run for office.

Rachel Armstrong said recently that the problem with ‘the future’ is that it’s not the future at all: it’s a version of now. It’s the distillation of predetermined cultural prejudices and preconceptions, it’s not a map, or even a good science fiction story.

But you can design revealing toys that explore our preconceptions, construct ‘imaginary appliances’ to help us trick our way out of the corner we have painted ourselves into. And it might be that the corners with the most paint — the hardest problem spaces — might be the most rewarding areas of exploration.

Enough said — To work!

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