Where Are Design and Technology Leading Us?

In class on Tuesday, there were a few quotes by Paolo Antonelli, who to be honest, I had never heard of.  But these quotes struck me as very insightful, highlighting the connection between technology and design.  I had never really given much thought nor have been exposed to how much technology and design can be interrelated.  But from the quotes that were given by Antonelli, my interest was peaked, so I went out searching for more.  What I found was a great TED talk that Antonelli gave in 2009 entitled “Design and the Elastic Mind”.  How perfect was this, a designer who I had newly discovered, whom I already started to admire, discussing a topic that was fresh in my mind?

Antonelli discusses her recently finished curation that highlighted the relationship between design and technology. Some of the projects were quite interesting and exciting to see what they could bring to society and some just had me thinking, are we taking technology too far?  Such examples are wedding bands created out of bone tissue of a loved one or sperm embedded with a poem or song. I almost felt disappointed when she was discussing these projects.  There was a little humor in the ideas, and they do show how far technology can go, but is this really what designers want to use technology for in contributing towards society?

I was honestly expecting to be “wowed” by the TED talk and really motivated to open my ideas to technology, but a part of me was really disappointed in what I had seen.  I imagined projects and ideas that were taking cutting edge technology and designing it to be usable for the everyday person in a beneficial way.  Don’t get me wrong, there were some projects that were thinking logically, but also in a technologically advancing way, such as rapid manufacturing, or essentially 3-D printing.  This in the future could be even more rapid and allow people to customize their own furniture with specific templates and be able to go pick it up at the local Kinkos a few hours later.  These are ideas that excite me.  And I guess I have to realize, there are always two sides to every story, or should I say design movement, but I just hope designers can stick to the more useful applications and not take design technology too far in the wrong direction.

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One comment

  1. I think this original post did a really good job of asking the question: How much, is too much? I constantly find myself thinking about how advanced technology has become and the abilities it gives us to make life so much easier. Being disabled, technology has allowed me to do things that there is no way I would have been able to without it. For instance the Digital Fabrication Lab is a dream come true for being able to make models.

    But there are many times where I also have to ask myself: Is that really necessary? It seems that although there are many luxuries that technology has given us, we sometimes take a little too much advantage and have become lazy in some instances. One example that I recently saw of what I would call this “lazyness” afforded by technology was last weekend when I was hunting with my brother-in-law. He has a brand new gun with a recoil reducer on it. On the butt of the gun there is a padded end with a spring-loaded system that allows the user to feel virtually zero kickback. I got to try it out and will not deny how well it works, but in this case it’s just a luxury. I understand that it was produced so that people with bad shoulders could continue to hunt. But is it really necessary for everyone?

    Maybe that wasn’t a good example to get my point across and I’m just getting nitpicky, but it seems like we are all too often finding the easy way around things (myself included). However, it is clear technology and the pursuit of advances is possibly THE most important key to our future. But we need to look for a clear-cut difference in what is necessary, and what is convenient.

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