Jan 16, 2018
"Design is deeply understanding people. Innovation is anticipating their needs." (Mauro Porcini)
Computers can’t “see” images or videos, they can actually only read the code behind them. That’s the limitation that first gave birth to new jobs where people are in charge of checking on machines, like the job of those moderators who filter the results from online search engines. Furthermore, robots can autonomously perform complex tasks on a planet’s surface while being supervised by astronauts in orbit. The same goes for Tesla’s self-driving trucks.
As designers, we envision an alternative present or a near future. We, people, design what makes us better. We do it. Because software still can’t really understand the meaning of our words and the ideas we share with them.
"My life didn’t please me, so I created my life"
A.I. and blockchain, VR and cryptocurrencies are virtual alternatives. And it seems that everybody is focused on creating alternative ecosystems where freedom and anonymity are the peculiarities, that’s because people want the power to control.
But what if we keep the actual ecosystem and we develop it in a safe way? People would choose -in a near future- to make their online actions voluntarily on protected and secure systems -avoiding uncontrolled systems- because total freedom means also being exposed to what we probably can’t handle.
In fact, “self-policing” is an existing tool, you can already apply filters to your browser in order to keep your children away from pornography and you can make banking transactions on secure platforms. What if you could choose to navigate only on an internet that is monitored by the local law of the country in which you choose to live?
The internet is like an advertisement for alcohol that claims “use responsibly” whether and how the digital age might be changing us as a species. We feel the need to improve ourselves, then we need to add a ‘0.5’ as an extension of ourselves until the point to completely reprogramming ourselves.
People want to be so much in control that they install chips in their own bodies. It’s called bio-hacking (check out dangerousthings.com). The digital age has affected our behaviours in the physical world to the point of modifying our ability to interact with other humans. And only human ethics can moderate the dehumanizing process.
Control is a delicate matter. Thinking of the opposite, it’s like during an illegal protest, policemen assault the activists while wearing uniforms that show no badges or id numbers. So, people are basically hit by anonymous “controllers”. In this lawless landscape, who's in control? The Protectors?
”If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough"
We are currently walking a fine line between glorifying technology and lose control in freedom. And that simply depends on the aim, if we want to improve everyone’s life or if we want to take control over other’s life. As designers, we want to heighten humans to the level of people.
“Innovation for humans” (or “Human-first in innovation”) comes from an anthropocentric culture or, better, from an anthropocentric need which opens a window to new paths. The organisations that choose to work on innovation understand that a user-centred design approach delivers an exponential return on investment.
We are all investigating new paths and creating new opportunities because we are all driven by curiosity. And curiosity is human nature, but the question is.. do you really want to be in total control?