Especially my class on design ethics has been really insightful. The central question of this class is what the role of a designer is in building new technologies and innovation.
All those new technologies are great but we now more and more see the other side of tech. Smartphone addiction, anxiety through Instagram likes or a product tweak to boost engagement even further.
Tech changes societies. As a designer, maker or entrepreneur you have a responsibility for the work that you put into the world. Thus I find headlines like “YouTube is experimenting with ways to make its algorithm even more addictive” (MIT Technology Review, Sep 27 2019) alarming. Maybe I am too idealistic. Maybe I don’t fully understand the power of venture capital money. But even if the only real incentive is growth and engagement we need to think about the consequences of what we create.
That said; I am fully aware of the way big tech companies reached their mass audiences. Travis Kalanick (Ex-CEO of Uber) was not thinking about the wellbeing of his taxi drivers. He simply had this enormous drive and vision to create the future of transportation. So this raises the question: Do you need to be an assh*le to be successful? Watch this excellent video by Max Joseph to learn the answer.
Why I study design
Last week my master hosted an event called: “The New Digital Design Talent of 2020”. The students of the program had to share the story and motivation for joining the program. It’s still quite nerve-racking to share your personal story in front of an audience. But I am happy with the result:
Coolest Things I Learned This Month
Great article about the user perception of fast software.
“I love fast software. That is, software speedy both in function and interface. Software with minimal to no lag between wanting to activate or manipulate something and the thing happening. Lightness.”
When it comes to software that people live in all day long, a 3% increase in speed should not be dismissed. Slow software is bad software precisely because it can not handle flow.
“Fast software gives the user a chance to “meld” with its toolset. That is, not break flow.”
Learning chess through natural language processing
AI mastered chess by reading about it (MIT Technology Review)
A new AI learns chess not only by simulating games, but also by reading the commentary of reporters. The tool is searching for terminology such as ‘smart’, ‘stupid’, or ‘genius’ to learn about what a good chess move is.
Why Tokyo might be the best place in the world to listen to music.
The Japanese are obsessed with technology and sound. This piece explains the different audio-obsessed venues in Tokyo. Makes me want to book a trip back to Tokyo to do a tour of these music cafes.
That’s it for this month. If you’re enjoying this short email, I’d love it if you shared it with a friend or two. You can send them here to sign up.
Until next time!