Posts

The Future of Interaction

 In the last chapter of our book "Things That Keep Us Busy - the elements of interaction" we spend some time on what the future of interaction might be. We tried to do it by extrapolating the analysis that we had done throughout the book. We did to be real and not too speculative. If we are right or wrong is up to you to decide.  I have included the first page here and the rest of the chapter can be found if follow the link . 11 Full Speed Ahead We would like to believe that a deeper examination of interaction and interactivity would make us better equipped to imagine and approach the future of interactivity. Obviously we cannot reliably predict what will happen, but our examinations, conceptual developments, and terminological emendations should at least improve our ability to explore different possible futures. We have already engaged in explorations of some ongoing or imminent developments by extending our understanding of interactivity with ideas such as faceless interact

Going back to Bruno Latour and the role of "things"

Over the years I have returned to the writings of Bruno Latour. Every time I do that, it excites me in different ways, sometimes because his ideas are extraordinarily creative, sometimes because they are overwhelmingly complex and rich and, of course, because they always provoke and challenge me.   Today I re-read his article from 2004 called "Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern". It is a long and complex text with highly delicate argumentation and reasoning. As always when reading Latour, he forces you to think and tricks you to believe that he is arguing for one position while in the next paragraph he turns it upside down. I will not go into what the text is about or his arguments. But briefly, it is about the confusing situation that many "constructivists" found themselves in when they realized that their attempt to "deconstruct" facts and truth had similarities with the work of those who advocate conspiracies a

The Evil of Design

  In design theory or design thinking, we do not often talk about the evil of design. However, we all know that design, with or without intent, can lead to outcomes that are undesirable or even destructive to the world around us. In our book “The Design Way – intentional change in an unpredictable world” we dedicate one chapter to the notion of the evil of design. Below are a couple excerpts. “Good design’s most interesting paradox is that it is both magnificent and evil. This is not the same pairing of apparent opposites as the more common duality of good and evil. We are not talking about Evil, with a capital E, designating malevolent forces dedicated to the destruction of everything that is good in the world, or counter to the positive presence of God as in many religious traditions. It is true that design has been considered evil in this way. Some designs have been attributed to the work of the devil or the influence of evil spirits. For instance, a European bishop banned the use o

Our book "The Design Way - intentional change in an unpredictable world" in Chinese

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 My co-author Harold Nelson and I heard for a while that there is a Chinese version of our book "The Design Way - intentional change in an unpredictable world" (MIT Press, 2012). Just the other day, one of my students, who is in China, helped us and sent two copies of the book to me. It is so exciting to see our work in Chinese. The book looks good with great graphics, but to what extent the text is close to the original, I cannot judge :-)

New book in our book series

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I am happy to announce that we have published a new book in our MIT Press book series "Design Thinking/Design Theory" that I edit together with Ken Friedman. The new book is "How Artifacts Afford: the power and politics of everyday things" by Jenny L. Davis. Here is a link to all books in the series https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/series/design-thinking-design-theory

How System Designers Think about Design and Methods: Some Reflections Based on an Interview Study

In 1992 I wrote an article that was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems. It was based on an interview study I did for my PhD thesis. I have not read this paper since it was published, almost 30 years ago! Hard to understand. Anyway, today I read it, and I liked it. It is interesting to see how I did work on the same ideas I work on today. But, more importantly, is that I recognize how formative that interview study was for my research at the time and even today. I still agree with the analysis and the contributions of the research. Actually, I think it is still highly relevant. Other researchers have written about the same topic and in many cases argued for similar conclusions, but it is still not an understanding of design that is prevalent. I would like to re-write some parts of the paper, but it is a paper and study that I am still proud of. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239066287_How_System_Designers_Think_About_Design_and_Methods_Some_Refl

When COVID makes philosophy concrete

In these uncertain times, it is interesting to see how the philosophy of technology by Alfred Borgmann suddenly becomes real and concrete. Borgmann's philosophy is about 'things' and 'practices' that can lead to focal experiences , that is, experiences that are real, grounded, connected to time, people, and places. Borgmann developed what is called the 'device paradigm' philosophy with the core notions of focal things and focal practices , commodification , etc. He warned us that when we commodify our everyday experiences through the use of technology, the experiences are not the same, they lose essential qualities. However, the commodification of practices is so convenient, it leads to a comfortable life where everything is constantly available to us without any concerns about how it is done and with no effort on our part. For instance, our homes are heated or cooled without us even knowing how it works. We only turn the thermostat. He discusses this in