Design Is [Messy] : Approaches to engaging with complexity
Nice. And faces thanks for coming out and so I'm Nick this is Christian hello. We've, got a hundred, and fifty slides and we've started late, so. What. Color tuck-in. Yeah. So I'm Nick this is Christian and I, introduced. Us. I'm head of design at X, and Christian works alongside me as designed lead this. Is X there's. Our CEO. X. Is a moonshot, Factory it's a place where we try and make. Big bets and, use, breakthrough, technologies, to hopefully make big changes to, make the world a radically, better place, we're. Probably best known for this project this is way mo they're self-driving, car we were sort of pioneers in this field and. This is designed to address the 40,000. People that die every year in the US on the, roads 90%, of which are. Caused, by human error. This. Is another project in testing this, is loon it, sort of addresses. The, billions of people that can't access. The internet around the world. This. Is a launch facility, in Winnemucca in Nevada this. Project, really exemplifies, some of the things that we like to do at X which is think laterally and use technology to, solve big problems and kind of unexpected, ways and deliver. Service to people that really makes a difference this. Is a more recent project this is the everyday robots project. And. This is very sort of thematic of what we're talking about today this is designed to make robotics, work in messy unstructured, spaces, as opposed to programmatically. Following. Something by rote, so. My, background is as you heard in KY said I'm an industrial designer by training but I've been in the role of sort, of futurist and working in the emerging. Technologies space for quite a while I'm also a partner at the near future laboratory, hopefully somebody knows, the near future laboratory, anybody, there's, one there great. So, yeah we work in the field of design fiction we pioneered this approach to, telling stories about the future and very kind of graspable. Grapple, grapple, or bull ways. And. I'm christian my backgrounds in architecture, and interaction, design like Hyman and also.
Speculative. Design and primarily, developing, novel applications, for emerging technologies so, X is kind of a perfect place this. Is the Museum of the future in Dubai from, a previous role at teller. And as. Already. Demonstrated, we know two person talks can be kind of tricky it's why you don't see a whole lot of them but we're. Gonna give it a shot you know I'm gonna try it out and. It's gonna be okay we'll, hope it's be okay let's see what hopefully it'll be okay please burn the tapes if it's not so. Design is messy we talked to CAI a nearly a year ago about, coming to do one of these talks and we're really happy to be here tonight it's just taking a while to schedule, but, the one of the first topics we wanted to talk about is messy and it just came to us kind of naturally maybe, as a result of the kind of audacious, long-term, complicated. Projects that we do at X but also just felt like something, we believed in and. We. Are at the sort of moment, in time we've just hit, 2020, we like round numbers round numbers are good it's thoughts he's, thinking about like where have we been where are we going next it's kind of this overlap. Moment and, just. Starting to think about the state of the world we want to just sort of zoom out of design for a bit you know we do our work in the world the world has its own character, its own grain and so, what do we think the world is like right now I've. Been watching a show called the morning show on the Apple TV and there's, a phrase that came from Billy, Crudup character, Cory Ellison who's this kind of sleazy business. Executive. Character and the. Phrase is this which is chaos is the new cocaine it, feels like chaos, messiness. Ambiguity. Is becoming. An increasing, part of our lives it feels like it's here it's everywhere it's like this big part of what we do every day and just, digging into that a little bit you, know global politics, is is chaotic. It really is chaotic whether it's worse or better than it was in the past it really feels that way right now the. Notion of poverty's and inequalities, and in justices, and marginalization, is a big part of what we talk about, in global politics, and some. Of that is just symptomatic, of the way the world is moving but some of it is intentional, so, I don't know how many of you know this chap is valeri grass him off and he's radomir, putin's chief. Military strategist, and he has the the grassy muff doctrine which is a, willful. Use of, disinformation, to. Spread chaos for. Strategic, effect, it's a willful, adding of chaos and messiness to the world. We're. Also surrounded, by incredibly, messy and complicated things, complicated systems, complicated. Services, 40%. Of the food in the USA never makes it to your table that is. A huge, amount of waste and it's a symptomatic, of an incredibly, complicated, and messy world that. Actually costs a hundred and sixty five billion dollars, a year. We're. Also seeing. Like overlapping, issues, between, two different systems so the system of where we live in the system of how we make things and consume energy are, overlapping, to the point where 9, out of 10 people live in places where the breathing quality, is below what the whao would recommend, this. Is the outputs of one system having a huge impact on the. Other system and the. Big elephant in the room is climate, change the ultimate, intractable, problem it seems it. Seems like there's. So many moving parts so many disconnected, drivers the world is literally on fire and yet we can't figure out what to do it's, not just Australia but, Brazil and you know up the hill from where we are now, now. Some of this could just be part. And parcel of living, on earth it, could also be part and parcel of the amount of time we spend online you know there's a theory about the Enlightenment that if we just, get a lot more information we. Can make sense of the world but, we've got a lot of information and we spend a lot of time consuming it but it seems like actually things are getting more confusing, and more complex and more messy it.
Seems Like this is a difficult, thing for us to understand, and difficult thing to move forward with but this is not necessarily anything new. Yeah. It's I, mean it's fair to say this isn't new at all is probably what generations. Upon generations have. Felt the. Advent. Of the Telegraph was probably horrifying, to some but, in particular something comes to mind from the late 80s so, this, term VUCA that the US military started, using and their, management training for military officers essentially, to describe the kind of new. Nonlinear. Dynamics, that they were seeing in the battlefield. And. Bucca, is an acronym it, stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity. And ambiguity it's. Essentially a structured, definition, of chaos, and, what I find so, fascinating about this is like yes, this concept from the kind. Of like war. Zone but, that it resonated, with the business community and with, academia and has been adopted. As a kind of framework for talking about our. Global economy and, our society at large, so. We've been kind of mapping. This nonlinear. Volatility. Uncertainty complexity. And ambiguity, framework. Onto. The way that we think about the. Way we live in 2020. This. Is a lot of text to throw on a slide I'll let you kind of sit with it but. This is what William, Gibson's character in. Pattern recognition meant. When, he said that fully formed, visions of the future aren't. Available to us in a chaotic, present, so, we have no future because our present is too volatile, there's, insufficient. Now to stand, on I. Think. This is this, is a kind of a critical problem for for designers because it's core to our role to understand, the world and make intentional. Responsible. Decisions, and in. A state of chaos and. How. Can we reasonably, do that so, that's part of what we want to talk about today so, in, a context. Of tremendous messiness. What. Is our role and we. Want to highlight some of I, think the shortcomings, that we've displayed, as a discipline, and. Ideally. Propose a, new, disposition for design or at least have a conversation about, what, a new disposition might, look like that responds. More. Intentionally. To this state of messiness, so. Also to acknowledge we don't have all. The answers obviously, it's not like we have you know some privileged position to X that gives us answers here but. I think by. Virtue of working on these very highly ambiguous very, long. Time frame, projects, I think it gives us some some. Ideas that kind of start a conversation with. So. What is an appropriate response, to messiness, and. What are some tactics, for engaging with it so the first is kind of the obvious one just like ignore, it and, and, draw a kind of boundary around a space that we.
Feel Comfortable kind, of controlling completely. No. No no. Reason to pick on koream receive in particular, I could have picked any image here but, it's a it's a fairly familiar model to all of us this is the the model of the kind of hero, designer, or starchitect, I. Don't know about you but this is this is how I was taught in school this, is maybe a kind of legacy of the apprenticeship. Tradition, of design where we can Revere the the. Master mentor. But. It's it's a world of idiosyncratic artistic. Gestures. From. The heroic, creative, individual. Who. Through their expressive, sketch, can. Impose their will on any problem, and. Define a complete, and harmonious, world of their own creation. So, in this, world. Design. Is kind of argued on the basis of individual, charisma, and the, novelty of vision. And. May be celebrated, for its technical mastery, and. I think it's it's also worth acknowledging that this is high art right this is this is the kind of triumphant. Expression. Of human, ability. Kazaaam. Prince Vic. Thank. You. I'm. Gonna remember this from your design or art history education. So. This notion of a complete and harmonious. World. AGGA, some concerns. Like a total design or total art work and as Mark wiggly says it's where design takes over a space entirely, and subjecting. Every detail every surface. To. An overarching vision. So. Essentially a gazaam cocoons Berk is a, closed world and. It's beautiful and it's a tremendous and, complete attention to detail and. To its internal, self consistency, but. You can think of a closed world kind of like a space colony or something right where the the interior, has, every, detail accounted. For every, system can have connected and prepared for but, beyond. The bounds, of its world, everything. Is ignored, and. I. Mean in in in, one framing you can kind of think of any modern. Consumer, object, as a kind of closed. World or, at least interpret, it that way where. There's a tremendous attention, to detail it's it's self consistent, it's complete, and. Generally. Speaking acknowledged. As high it's high design because of because, of its its perfection essentially, everything is optimized. And in in its right, place essentially. However. This, is your role yeah this is it I think we split these up into Christian sets it up and I, come down with the bricks I mean, that maybe mirrors that character, a little bit but um however so, yeah, if you ignore the the complexity. You, you. Wall off the externalities. And the external things that are involved in what you're doing and Mark wiggly who Christian. Reference is it it's a fantasy, it's a fantasy about control, it's a fantasy about saying this is all mine and I'm gonna design this thing and I'm gonna ignore everything outside of it it's just my domain this is what we're going to do here and it doesn't matter what happens outside of it but, the truth is what happens beyond the bounds of your closed system affects it and is affected, by it there's. No such thing as a wall there's no such thing as a boundary exam can swear. It's. Not a real thing, it you know the building that you've made as a single, art you know work of art exists in a space it exists at the end of a road with neighbors and other things and just, as a way of sort of bringing it up to maybe.
A Contemporary, audience, take. A simple, product like this this is the Amazon echo dot it's, a simple product made primarily a polymer, and a bit of a bit of metal in there some paint a little bit of circuitry some radios, it's, very cheap this. Is an $18, product it's a very very cheap product and it feels like it's a very simple thing it feels like yeah there's a product i buy and i use and it's fine I talked to hidden it delivers, services to me but. A project done by Kate Crawford and Vlad, Angela in 2018. Really. Started to dig into what you're buying and what you're interacting with when you you have this product in your life and they, made a map the anatomy of an AI system so, this. Is actually not the, full system I believe there's plenty more than this but, what it does is it looks at dependencies, it looks at interconnections. It looks at externalities. Of the system as it's made and I'll just zoom in a little bit in a couple of areas there's, all the raw material, there's all the supply chain where does the material come, from who are the companies who are supplying this material and forging. It and refining it and delivering it that's a whole lot of stuff to think about even if you're just thinking about this $18, thing, you've. Got the back end and all the network services, all the AWS, has to work or this product is nothing it doesn't exist you've. Got all the data management, you know people's privacy people's content you have to concentrate, on this stuff - that, all needs working out that all needs figuring, out to make the $18.00 product work, likewise. This year the physicality of the product it exists, it needs shipping, it needs collecting. If you recycle it what happens to the recycled materials, all that stuff, is, all embedded and within the, $18 product but because we just work with the $18, product we don't really see it but it doesn't mean it's not there and doesn't need consideration, and actually doesn't keep designing and.
This Leads us into kind of acting Network theory which, put very simply as a way of very. Complicated things have a way of. Appearing. To us as very very simple things like a TV is sort of a box, on the wall and a device, you hold to make it do things and, it only sort of reveals, the network's and the complexity, behind it particularly when it breaks so when a TV breaks yes you've got mechanical, breakage any money - I don't, know if people meant TVs anymore but if you convened a TV you're switching out resistors or doing that kind of thing but increasingly, you know the, login doesn't work anymore the password doesn't work the network's down whatever it is the, system gets bigger and bigger and bigger and that can be a TV it could be a financial system, something. Of that scale it could even be the Internet you know we don't see the, extent, of the network until it breaks or until we're confronted, by its failures, and, I think generally what I'm what, I'm trying to say is we're, still thinking about the design of these products, like these $18 products, like. They do have a boundary, around them like a hammer you know there's nothing complex about a hammer I don't need a login but, the. World of the objects that we're building now is not, the world of hammers we're building complex, things. One. Thing I want to talk about as well is this notion of building a very, simplistic boundary. Around what we're trying to solve leads. To a notion. Of solution. ISM that we can kind of determine. A task do, the design work and finish up but. I want to introduce a term that we've been using a little bit with solution, entropy which, is this notion that. We. Never really solve anything we. Might break down a big problem into smaller problems or we might even kick the problem down the road a bit and or, kick it into different companies or or help sort of reduce it down into its smaller parts but it never really goes away this. Is a term that we've used a little bit I'd like you to use a lot but. I think it really should get out of that mindset of thinking somebody. Sent me a task you know I learnt, design, as a, problem-solving. Exercise, like a plumber or something you know you have a leak I put a patch on with fixed done. But. I think this, quote, by Paul there really is quite interesting here and most people just use the first line which is when you invent the ship you also invent the shipwreck there were no shipwrecks, in a world before the ship was invented, and, I think we have to start addressing, the fact that when we think we're solving something what, we're actually doing is breaking down a bigger problem into smaller problems or punting.
It Somewhere else so when you invent USBC, you, invent dongles like, this is. USBC. Is undoubtedly, a good protocol, a useful connector, but you also then have to deal with all of the other things the problem is not solved, it's changed. Likewise. The half dog who knows the half dog. So. The half dog is an, artefact that happens when a fast-moving, object, in this case Labrador. Moves. Through a panoramic. Stitched, image, you know when you move your phone across the dog. Runs very quickly through it the algorithm doesn't understand, that movement so it stitches them together you end up with a half dog so. Panoramic. Stitching is an amazing, technology like. Life-changing. Ly important, complex, technology, and yet, we never struggled, with half dogs before it existed so, there are no neat. Solutions, just really we need to stop thinking like that and just. To sort of wrap this up and really nail it in there's, this notion of what we do is has a beginning middle and end the brief the. Design bit the, delivery and then, you charge, for it I guess but, the truth is it's all middle, it's. All middle, there is no end you start something and then you have to keep doing it there's just more designed to be done. All. Right so, we're on a tactic to don't. Worry there only a hundred of these, okay. So you can ignore it you, can put a wall around it and what. Else can you do we can simplify. The mess so, this is something that we all, do intuitively, the human mind is an incredible, abstraction. Machine so, we intuitively form, abstractions. For the use of symbols metaphors, and. Other representations. Of concepts, you. Know this you do, it every day you're doing it right now. But. Then we also form abstractions, around things like the cloud which. Compresses a tremendous, amount of complexity into a discrete concept. And then the the messy interior, within these boundaries, kind of disappears, and it's translated, into a manipul. You. Can then use in a diagram. To talk about all the other things you're making, the connect to the cloud, so. We make models for the organization, of. Incredibly. Messy and dynamic. Realities, in, order to understand, them and to act responsibly on them, this is the so-called. Rational. Model. Of design and. It's again, incredibly, useful it, helps us understand, complexity, build. Mental models that we can use to make. This complexity, workable. And manipulable, right, but. This is the the kind of built environment, as as, a kind of diagram, right this is the expression, of interior, organization. In. The. Final form of a thing this. Is OMA, is Seattle. Public Library the diagram, on one side the building on the other. And. In. In, its extreme, this approach leads, to a kind of. Extreme. Minimalism, all right so the detour Amon saying famously as little design as possible, the world of a system stripped down to its absolute kind.
Of Simplest components, beautiful, orderly. Generally. Speaking very, usable and, decidedly. Unmess II it's also the world of, design. Language systems components. And patterns that are repeatable and. And, make the, work of highly, distributed. Multidisciplinary. Teams manageable. But. It also makes the kind of user experience of these things predictable. And familiar, so I can I can reasonably, expect that, you know when I when I tap, on that round thing something's, going to happen. But. This desire to simplify. Kind of carries through in our aesthetic. Choices, the design world becomes a kind of post, embellishment. World this. Aim for a kind of total efficiency cleanliness. Optimization. Abstraction. Also. Carries over into our design processes. So, I'm going to jump back to history for a second. This is Frank and Lillian, Gilbreth. Work, on time and motion studies, so. They were basically looking at how to optimize human, activities, and a number, of of, key tasks, so, manufacturing. Objects in an assembly line kind. Of common tasks in the kitchen they, study bricklayers, and and, all of their kind of sequences. Of motions in order to figure out how to improve them and. They built a library of abstracted, actions, which, are called third legs which is almost Gilbreth, backwards, but. There are these 18, elemental. Motions. That could be described, in a logical. Sequence they'd, be timed and then rerun, rearranged. And kind of optimize so, translating the kind of fluid, continuous, and somewhat idiosyncratic. Movement of individual. People doing individual, kind, of approaches. To the task they've learned over time into. These kind of structured, and, logical, sequences, and when. We apply. This abstracted. Model, to design, and our own process, as a, discipline, we. End up with a kind of generic process that can be brought to bear on any, any. Problem, that we face so this is the. Kind. Of intriguingly this is an Ames video from 1964. At, the IBM pavilion, of the World's Fair trying. To explain how computers, work to. The. General population by. By. Using the metaphor of how humans, solve. Problems, so, computers, work just like humans do so, let's let's explain how humans work so there's a lot of metaphor. Here but, I think it's kind of interesting so the first step is stating the problem and the. Second step is collecting information, the, third is abstracting. Information, and, in the fourth is is building. The model of this information of, this abstracted. Map of information. So. In doing so we build this kind of representation, of reality that that clarifies. All of the mess and. And and turn it into something that's logical, and manipulable is kind of like the gilbreth's, and.
Then Finally you intervene, so you you, manipulate, this this system you manipulate, the model I. Think. What's interesting about the the, videos they, end this sequence here so the method used in solving even the most complicated problems, is, essentially the same method we all use daily so. This is a kind of replicable. And generalizable. Problem-solving. Process that. Can be applied to anything from. Urban. Planning to planning, a dinner party which is the example that they use after this, but. This should look familiar to us right this is this is the kind of sequence. Of actions that were taught is is the design process this. Is the design, Council double diamond kind. Of universal, design method, that goes through at discover expansive. Defined contractive. Develop. Expansive, deliver contractive, again, and. You. Know. Fantastic. Agencies, like I do use. In describing the design thinking process and, the, steps to go from a kind of problem understanding to. Prototyping. And and kind of solution, delivery I. Think. What's interesting about this model is that it introduces some variability at the end there that's where the iteration happens but essentially, it's still a rational, and linear process, that, ingests, messy, problems, on one end and kind of spits out clean solutions, on the other. So. Yeah that's that's that's tactic number two which is to find, mechanisms for, simplifying. Organizing, and since it's essentially, process applying, mess. However. These. Tools are useful this is how we learn right this is these are very very useful things for us to understand, it's very hard to have someone walk in a room and say right I'm gonna tell you this incredibly, complicated thing, simplifying. Things down is the. Way that we learn is how we teach is how we learn they're very useful as pedagogical, tools but the issue comes when that pedagogical. When you've ingested the sort of bare bones of the process, or the concept, when you try and reapply it back into the messiness because, what happens is and what happened with all these models is you, know it might be good for a sort of a TED talk to say this is what design is but, actually then somebody takes that and tries to implement it this, sort of thing starts happening you know people go on Twitter and they say I think there should be another Dimond or there should be a feedback loop here or maybe another hexagon, or actually. I tried this and what we found was and all it is is just reflecting, the complexity, that was ignored in the simplification. Process so, you end up back in these kind of more iterative feedback loops this, is another, person's attempt at making the design thinking process more, real, and. You can do this add-in format ad infinitum until, you end up back at the messy.
Until. You end up at something like this, so. This is Deloitte they're. Agile landscape, and you can see Design Thinking comes, in on the left but the, point that we're making here is not to make fun of Deloitte they're trying to make sense of an incredibly complicated thing, but in trying, to include the complexity, they've ended back at complex again we're still in messy and this is I don't know how usable this is for a new product or an innovation project. It. Sort of becomes a little farcical, at times, um. Interestingly. The. D.school who are sort of the exponents, of design thinking recently announced that they're not going to use their hexagons anymore because over time they've realized that this complexity, is is unavoidable. And quote unquote design, isn't a process which, is you know sort of fascinating, to me. Christie-anne. Also mentioned metaphors you know metaphors are a good way to help understand, complicated things in a nice packaged, concept. The, issue with metaphors is they're arbitrary and they're based heavily on your previous experience, where you come from the language you know the, the people you've interacted with, those, different, things that we use say oh it's just like that if, you haven't experienced, that in the same way as Christian, and I have then the metaphor is meaningless. James. Bridle they're artists and and brilliant, writer. Has. A good, line in metaphor. But his argument. Is the, cloud is not some magical faraway place, made of water vapor and radio waves where everything just works, and Timo. Arnall brilliant, photographer and designer. Started. To take pictures of the cloud this is the cloud or at least part of it it's, it it's, real it's it's full of you. Know computers. And cables. And private servers and power supplies and other things the cloud is not the right metaphor I'm. Gonna hand it over to Christine you go to some. Again. You, can simplify the mess you can organize it and process, if I it. Tactic. Number three is to, map the mess and to essentially, know it entirely, so. You. Kind of acknowledged, that complexity, and messiness exists, but your response to it is to know it absolutely. And quantitatively, so. Again I'll, go back to history could. Have picked a lot of examples here but, Weiner the the founder. Of the field of cybernetics, and he, was interested in self organizing, and self-regulating. Systems and it kind of invented the concept of feedback loops and. Then Jay Forrester who is also at MIT around. The time and of 50, 60 s founded. The. Field of system dynamics which, tried to model. Nonlinear, systems. Using, feedback loops. And. This all coincided. With the, kind of hey days of the birth of large-scale. Computing, so there is this fundamental, belief that, even the most complex, system, so the. Global economy, a city the. Human body could be abstracted. Modelled. Again quantitatively. And simulated, in a computer. Even. The planet so, this is Jay, foresters, world. To model, it's. A computer simulation of interactions. Between kind. Of key components of the planet so so population, growth industrial. Growth food production, limits. In the kind of ecosystems, of, the earth to. To try to understand, what the carrying capacity of the planet was it.
Was Then updated, in the world three model by dennis meadows for the Club of Rome which some of you may be heard of the kind of famous limits, to growth model or. Project. And. There. Is actually a kind of it's, a system of systems I thought we could go through a few of them there are a few different sections in the map so, the first is the non-renewable resources. System, the. Industrial, system, has. Things like jobs, per capita the, pollution system, that. Funny little cloud. Thing I'm not sure if that's that's, pollution, or not but I do like it and. Then here, in the food system you see things like agriculture, production land, use allocation, and, that kind of thing, but. I thought we might spend a little bit of time with the population, system specifically. And. If we zoom in here you can start to see what some of these nodes are. So. Here you have the like, the life, expectancy. Module is connected to these. Mortality. Rate, modules. But. If you if you look at this there these mortality, rates are actually aggregates, so they're looking at a kind of demographic. Trash. Of. Mortality. Rates in order to presumably, reflect, the, reality, and make the simulation, map the kind of real dynamics. Of the world we would need to at. Least segment, by individual, ages right if not also account. For, where. In the world people are living so maybe include also country and age and and, and eventually, get to increasing, specificity, maybe, even get down to individual, people and have, simulations, that include individual, agents and. Who, knows maybe even go deeper into. The biochemistry, of individual, people. To try to understand, their specific. Mortality. Predictions. Here. We go so. This is the Roche biochemical. Pathways developed, by dr.. Gerhard Michel, he. Started this project in the 1960s. And. It was meant to provide an overview of the, chemical, reactions. Of cells in various, species and organs so including, the human body so it's attempt to map out all the possible. Metabolic. Interactions. In. Over decades he added more and more detail more. Enzymes more, reactions, none, of this means anything to me any don't you know don't worry but. It eventually, split into two separate, wall charts there's so much detail. And. It it's kind of again I'm an amazing triumph. Of human ability to be able to map out all of this complexity, and. All of these different components and their interactions, and so presumably you could even go. Deeper into to oXXO.
Gluto Rate and and, understand. And describe what it's atomic structure, is and maybe, even get down to the quantum level and then work all the way back up and have a more accurate map right so this is kind of never-ending fantasy. Of, total. Knowledge map, it. All yeah. Welcome to you know I jump down to how over a section yeah welcome to your design. So. However, for this, Christine. Was sort of alluding to it but one, of the things to remember is that these systems are based on an observation of something very complex in and our willingness to map it that mapping takes time and what. They do is they study, the, complex system, as a fixed, truth, a stable, mathematical. Model and if. We know anything about the world, particularly the world of living things. The. World is all variables, there are very very few constants, things, are constantly in flux there's, no way you can say hey freeze I'm mapping this like, stuff is changing, stuff is changing, all the time, this. Is no more. Visible. Perhaps than in economic, systems so in systems built on growth and capitalist, systems the, notion of growth is that. The odds with the notion of stability you can't say hey freeze everyone I'm trying to map this this. Thing is just moving, all the, time so it doesn't freeze long enough for you to accurately map it and create a simulation and the, documentarian. Adam, Curtis in, his piece all watched over by machines of loving grace which I encourage you to all watch, said, the dream of a self-organizing, system is a strange machine, fantasy, of nature, and the key point there is it's a machine fantasy. It goes all the way back to cybernetics, and Arthur. Tansley even and thinking about the, mathematical. Way that we do things and it relies on mathematical. Models of equations, and flow and feedback, to make sense of things that actually may not exhibit that stuff, the. Second thing that's important, there and again Christian was zooming in and explaining, this is knowing. The scale you're working at for your map of a system and knowing. Where the edges are for you is really important, you, know you could say I'm gonna start looking at animals and you could focus just, on the. Microbiome. On the back of a dung beetle and go really deep into that or you could say the Pacific Ocean they're, both valid in this in this space and, in. The background of this as a piece you might be familiar with there's a lot of Eames in this deck god. Bless them but this is the power of ten movie from the Eames where they gradually zoom out from a molecular level all the way to a to, a galactic level, but. The first of bruno. Latour recently, penned recently, penned reasonably. We recently ish. Okay. This, millenia sure. Sure. All. For realizing that sure oh yeah continue so he. Penned a piece called anti zum which is this notion we're very comfortable with zoom in that, a zoom in to a map for example and i zoom out and the. The inference there is that the stuff when you zoom in when, you zoom out it's still there but, the truth is it's not it's different images it's different contents from a different server it's, actually, not represented, when you zoom out the stuff, you have when you zoom in, so. This. In itself is a world this exists, but, if we zoom out it doesn't mean that all that information is still there because in very literal sense there's less pixels defining. That stuff that, we've moved away from this is also another world this is also another world and. You. Know there's there's been a few people who've played with this over time but Lewis Carroll that sort of comedic writer of Alice. In Wonderland wrote. This really lovely piece in his book Sylvia and Bruno concluded, in, 1893. Which is the only way you can make an accurate map of the, world is to make it one to one but. As soon as you make it one to one you can't unfold it because it covers the earth and this. Was also followed, up by boar hairs and other people like that but this idea of, accuracy. And and zooming, and the level to which you want to try to get as much accuracy, and find the edges of your system means, that trying to map everything and create a simulation becomes very very difficult and again. When you start to think about making. A model of something and being like I'm fine with the model now we're going to turn it into a simulation, just knowing.
That You've missed the ton of detail is really important, because your simulation, is going to lack that core, information and the, more you zoom out and the more basic you make your model the. Worse your simulation, becomes so. You start to drift away from the ground truth of what you're actually trying to map and Beaudry. Are who's a very, french in this picture. Coin. Is son you use, this term simulacra, which is like you think you're building a simulation, of a system or a, model. Of how something works but, you've drifted so, far away from the truth and left out so much detail that actually, you're working in a parallel universe the simulation, that you're making isn't actually reflected. In a ground truth of any sort so. Those are three of the sort of tactics that people have used across design but other things are there areas economics, in philosophy and politics to sort of explore, and make sense of myths so. Let's take a quick flashback. To design who has Pantone chips. Um, I. Think. If we were really honest and I want us all to be honest I'm assuming there's quite a few designers, in the room it's. A fair assumption we. Still are, stuck. In a, world where we lionize, the individual, designer I think the UX community is actually ahead here, like there's a there's a general belief, that UX is a team sport and it relies on engineering, it relies on product, and we work sort of collaboratively. In that space, but certainly in architecture, certainly an industrial, design certainly in product and furniture, the, cult of the celebrity, the cult of the individual, that sort of ignore the mess and I'm just going to make this beautiful thing and we're not going to talk about the supply chains and all of the difficult, stuff that goes with it and all of that the, implications. That it brings with it likewise. With products, you, know this is there's. No surprise this is rendered in just a white space it. Willfully. Ignores all the externalities. We judge design, in a vacuum we don't talk about all of the stuff that I showed you in that anatomy. Of an AI system is not, rendered, here it's not discussed, it's not part of the conversation, we've. So rarely, exposed. The underlying systems. That go into making these things good or bad products. Design. Is still stuck. In this loop. Of solution, ism we, sell design as a tool to achieve utopia. Regularly. Still we, still see launch videos where there's a happy family and some ukulele, making everyone feel like I just buy this thing it's all fixed, we know that not to be true we. Like this really clean message, if like just just do the design and finish it and then everything's solved we, know that's not the case why do we still do it. There's. Huge momentum still, behind. These simplified, models of design this. Is hopefully. You know David Kelly one of the sort of founders of IDEO and the, driving force behind the movement behind. Design. Thinking and recently. Won the Bernard M Gordon price from. The. National. Academy of Engineering which. Carries a cool half million dollar prize so. We're still really into this stuff we still think it's all like what. We should be doing as designers but we've already seen those models when you actually try to use them they don't really work they don't really reflect the complexities, of our discipline. Designers. Too they're pretty sort of, introspective. We sort of have this I'm Twitter that's a thing we talk to each other we, don't talk to other teams other people other disciplines, get their points of view we don't we rarely, do that I don't want to tarnish, everyone here with the same brush I'm sure there's scales, but we, like to argue about figma, plugins and scroll bar designs and we just sort of navel-gazing talk to ourselves we're.
Naturally Introspective. In that regard and there are some people who are trying to engage with the deeper, implications. Of the work that we do but. It's a little trite you know with a few notable exceptions people. Sort of playing at ethics a little bit it can often be you. Know I'm being a bit critical here but it can be a little laughable, sometimes, how we sort of portray ourselves as the arbiters, of the ethical, viewpoint. And yet there's professionals. Who exist who we just don't engage with. So. There's this kind of overwhelming. Feeling that we're just kind of spinning in circles as, a discipline, and not making a whole lot of progress on these really grand, challenges, that we talked about up front and. So this kind of general feeling of. Stasis admits. Calamity. Kind of persists, right so. This. Is this great, term the dithering that comes from Kim Stanley Robinson, who's a science, fiction author so. This is actually from the perspective, of a fictional, society in the future saying, what what this period, of human history looked. Like and it's described. As the dithering which. Is a state of indecisive. Agitation. And. That kind of feel true about. 2020, and this. Is our colleague Obie Felton and. I've. Always loved this quote this is she. Says that what has changed during our lifetime, is. The pace of innovation so. Technological. Development. Now outpaces. Our ability to adapt to it which. Has caused the kind of flair and our anxiety, about technology, and its impact, so. This anxiety comes, from technology outpacing. Our ability, to understand, it, I, think, there's some reality. To this so, these are you've. Seen this chart, but this is the technology. Adoption, curves, now. And you can see that life, actually is speeding, up so, as things are more. And more vertical they're they're, being. Adopted more quickly into society. So. We're building platforms, on top of platforms, on top of platforms, and machine learning moves, faster than software, software. Moves faster than Hardware hardware moves faster than infrastructure. And land lines and, yeah. All, of the rest of that stuff that we had to do in the the, 19th century, and, so it's no surprise that our response, to to buca is Marie Kondo, you. Know like, reduce. The messiness manage. The messiness kind. Of control. And. And, clean. Up a kind, of messy experience. Of life. We. Retreat to self-care, and mindfulness, apps it's, a kind of willful. Ignorance blocking. Out the noise and of, retreating. To introspection, and introversion. Just like get, the, mess away, and, give, me a break from it you know and. So. I think some. Of this is metaphorical, some of it as literal I mean at the end of the day were, we're. Really hoping that together, we can start to have a conversation about, what a new disposition for design would look like it, actually addresses. You, know the quote/unquote mess. So. This is Paola Antonelli and, she she, advocates, for designs, new, role as as. Society's. New pragmatic, intellectuals. So, changing from form givers to fundamental, interpreters, of an extraordinarily. Dynamic. Reality, so. We need to find meaningful. Ways to fold complexity. And messiness. Into, our practice and. Find, ways to embrace, messiness. Rather than try to try to manage it or simplify it, we. Have four. Things that we'd like to see more. Ok. The. First thing that we'd love to see more of in an emerging, discipline, of design and a disposition. Towards design work is we, want people who consider, themselves designers. To be more exploratory. And more, critical we. Think like the work of the radical designers of the 60s obviously, had some flaws but we think there's some tendencies, in there that we really want to keep up and you know refresh. In, our discourse and in our practice we. Want to consider more radical, alternatives, to our current paradigms.
And This, begins with starting to widen our reading circle and again I'm not trying to judge the people in the room but, I want us to get out of just checking dribble every morning I want, us to start reading, books that are on the fringes, of what we consider to be design books, about the future of the world the future of Technology the future of society start. To really think, about our roles as the creators, of things and products, and services that are going to change the lives of people and, the responsibility. That comes with that an. Abjad. Meyer, has. A lovely phrase we're constantly looking out for weak signals those murmurs, of future. Potential that should be our job we're. Making, things as designers, and creators that are going to be out in the future world and if we're going to be smart about it we, should be projecting, we should be spending our time thinking about the future observing. The future and trying to make sense of the future speaking. Of an ab her, company super flux recently did this this, project called the mitigation, of shock which was redesigning, a city in the, wake of significant. Climate change and we use it here more or more as a not. Necessarily as they focus on this project but. Speculative, design as a discipline, is something I believe strongly and as Christian does but, it has a tendency, to find itself wallowing, around in there the shallow waters, of the gallery space and the art space we, need to bring speculative. And critical design into, our core practice, it, can't be something that's just something you do on the weekend at the MoMA it has to be part of what we do as designers we, have to become critical. We. Have to move our mindset. Away. From applications. I'm not talking apps I'm talking about the applications, of technologies, and applications, of new things and start. Really thinking about the implications of them it's a responsibility. That we have we, can't keep drawing these little simplified, lines around ourselves saying are not my problem I'm the designer don't come to me it's, that job we're. Really good at helping people see those implications, too we have the skills we have the ability, to quickly make a film or quickly make a Photoshop, of something and have people say oh I see what that is let's, not do that there's. Tools you can use to so this is the future as well or the implications, we all buy Jerome Glen this is just a simple diagram your thing in the middle but, then have a ring of in this case six first order implications, what might happen if we do this what might happen if we finish this design and ship it, second-order, implications, come beyond that once, those first-order, implications, start happening to the world then well just, start thinking about then what it's a really big part of what we do and we have a responsibility to do that now I understand. You know we come from a fairly privileged, position that we have we're asked, to think more expansively, about our work, but. We you know we have challenges too we work in an organization, like many of you do and this is a little tool that we've started to use occasionally, which is you can't just walk into a room and say I'm not going to do your assets I'm just going to talk about the political, implications of what we're doing that's not going to sit but, what you can do is break down your work and so this is something that we use very sort of loosely and very occasionally, but we. Want to still be optimistic and if a client let's say comes to us or a partner and says I'm looking at doing this thing yeah. Let's go with that let's help you let's help you figure that out and do the 70 percent work do the sort of optimistic work but, then there should be 20 percent of your time or your output, or your work that's, there to help them think a bit more help them think about what they're doing and ask them questions that maybe they're not thinking about at the moment and then, maybe if you can really get on the right side of them spend. 10 minutes or 10 percent of your time really. Tearing, it apart thinking, how is this thing we think is good going. To be terrible, how is it going to destroy, something or a livelihood or something else think about the implications, of what we're doing more spend. Physical, time doing it. The. Second thing so we said before so, anyone. Who's got dinner reservations got.
Aramis Yeah almost that I'd, like to see a break from solution, ISM I you. Might have gathered, that from some of the things. We were saying earlier I think, this, idea that we've got this sort of technocratic, optimism, as designers, that will solve things, needs. To go away, please. No. More of these sort of blindly, utopian. Vision videos. Utopias. Don't exist, you know we've we're, living in 2020. I don't know how old all of you are but the child in you thinks 2020. Is gonna be wild we're, still living with dongles we're, still living with all the problems that I mentioned earlier, please. Let's incorporate them just just as by means of a way of doing this. There's. A project they did with the near-future laboratory, which, is a small zine I won't. Read it, but. I wrote an essay in 2014, called the future mundane which is which was a prank attic framework about how we might design for the future and a very kind of down-to-earth, way to get away from those glossy, touchscreen. Minority. Report vision, video, nonsense. And actually, start to think about the future and a way to think about the future like I said is back cast and thing what was it like in the 80s what did we think 2020, would be like so. What, we wanted to do in this piece of work was highlight. The state of the world as it is not in a kind of sneery isn't the world rubbish way but, just yes, we do live in incredible, times with 3d printers, and artificial. Organs and all this stuff but we also have this kind of stuff this. Is the world we live in the. World is partly broken and it will continue, to be now, most of the breakages here might not be particularly. Significant, or have huge impact on people but, this is a familiar world yes. We've got Google Maps and we've got all these services and we've got all these tools but they also have moments when they don't quite work for us. So. I want us to really try and as a discipline, and I say us because I'm this is not as telling you what to do I think we, all feel, a responsibility. Not. To ignore this, kind of. Solution. Is we need to get involved, in solution entropy we need to really think about the knock-on effects of what we're doing we'll never solve, things. So. Three. Is. That we'd like to. We'd. Like designed, to embrace plurality. So, this, is one of the core, tenets of future studies there, are there, are many possible, features, so Joseph. Boris's, Three Laws of Futures or the, future is not predetermined. It's not predictable. And. It can be influenced, by the choices that we make in the present, so. There are many possible. Futures we, need to think about these plurality, of outcomes that our design decisions could. Could. Bring about so. Not the future with a capital T and capital F but many futures, just like bake that into the way that you save, futures, now. This. Is the futures cone also by Boros. Which. Tries. To kind of describe different, potential and trajectories, of the future so you have the kind, of general. Space of what's what's, possible, in the future we also have plausible features possible. Futures and critically. Preferable, futures which is ideally what we should be kind, of steering, our. Like. A society. Towards. Through our product decisions, but. In order to consider a real. Plurality. Of futures we. Also need a plurality of viewpoints. So. I, think everyone, should agree. With but as a discipline, I think we need to be much better about including other, perspectives. So, women. People of color different, cultures but. Also different. Attitudes, and and political, viewpoints, different perspectives, about the future. Pessimists. And optimists. Sitting in a room trying to hash, things out because at. The end of the day we're all in this together, and we, all need to make this work, and. If, you look back at you know I think a lot of the examples in our deck these. Kind, of lionized, heroes of design are generally speaking male, Western. And white and, I think that's a problem we need to find, meaningful. Ways to celebrate other voices in our work. So. For we. Would like designed to move beyond user, centered design and, expand. A kind of. Yeah. And accept a kind of expanded scope of responsibility. So this again as Paola Antonelli saying. That all design is human centered and that it touches everything, but only cares about one thing humans. So in this framing human centered design is, it's, kind of an insult it's not enough, it's. Part of what leads to some of these problems. That we're talking about so this is Kenneth Bowles diagram. And. Just, to quickly I know there's a lot of stuff here but there are two axes, so actors, and time and you, can see that in this framing.
The Traditional, scope. Of human centered design or a user centered design as he puts it it's, actually quite limited, and. So he. Argues. For an expanded, scope of responsibility, for the designer that includes not. Just the immediate decisions, in the, the product that's for a particular, user or, group of users for, a limited, scope of time but actually embrace. The externalities, and unintended consequences. Of your decisions. And. That's because our our decisions, don't just affect us they don't just affect our products they don't just affect the immediate users, of our products. They. Affect all of us. And. Furthermore. We need to develop. Our ability. To think more contextually. So. Design a thing by considering. It in its next larger context. But. I think we need to extend, this. Ethos, to to. Include many more dimensions of caring beyond. Just your immediate scope so it's not just about expanding. And scale it's also to consider, the kind of many entangled. Effects of the, decisions, that we make and. Then finally to. Think in larger, timescales than were used to, so. Consider the layered forces, of change that are at play and consider how, your designs are situated within these forces. 7, slide left, almost. There each one has a hundred thousand words on No. We. Started this off and I gave you a small inkling. Of what I think the world is and why I think the world is messy and hopefully we sort of concur but we need to think about where this is headed is the world going to continue to be messy and in. Short, yes. Machine. Learning you can't have gone anywhere, without hearing about machine learning but machine learning is ushering in an era where the tools that we're using. Cannot. With, authority, be described, accurately by the people who are creating the tools gans. Convolutional. Neural networks, are immensely. Complicated things, and actually. The people who are creating them don't have the language properly to describe them to regular folks and it's, not just you, know academic work, this is affecting music it's affecting images it's affecting video products, and services, these, are tools that are continually, appearing.
In Every product we use and yet we don't have the language or the the mental acuity to make sense of them. Secondly. We're. Entering a world of hyper connected objects so we're going to enter a world where there, are new actors these. Actors might not even be conversing directly, with us they might be conversing with each other this. Is going to massively, increase, complexity. You, know the world's going to be much more messy when, we've got a billion things all talking to each other and we may be not able to understand. Comprehend, or communicate, with them. Furthermore. It's a bit of a played out example, but deep vegs is a good example. The line between truth and reality something, withheld so true for so long as a way to make sense of a messy world, if we see something then it must be true that's, also going away there's. A blurry line between what, is real and what is not real we're entering the era of synthetic, realities, and that's going to make the world incredibly. Messy still. Not. To mention the core fundamental. That goes behind every app everything. You use every light switch you touch is, binary. Computing, we're. Entering an ear and now we're. Entering the quantum age quantum, computing, is actually going to play with our notion of true and false 1 & 0 on and off those. Concepts, are amazingly, difficult to understand, so, all of this stuff all. Of this stuff is cut if you're a designer all of this stuff is coming into your world now, and increasingly. Over time it's, going to get a lot Messier. We're. Basically entering an era and an, age of the hyper object, massively, connected, things living amongst systems and, constructs. That like, beyond the scope of what we as humans can understand, and comprehend, and communicate, to each other the. VUCA that, Christine talked about at the beginning, described. In the 80s, relevant, today going, to keep increasing design. Needs to find new tactics, to deal with that and new approaches, and new technique, to make sense of it because, the future is coming and honestly we don't think design is very ready so. That's what we have for you tonight thank you very much.