The things we design end up designing us

Dr Natural
August 13th 2007

next nature car experience: The things we design end up designing us

"While battling the forces of nature, man has become more and more independent of physical conditions. At the same time, however, he has become more and more dependent of technical means, of other people and of his own self. Just think of the various forms of dependence that come along with driving a car. There have to be highways, for which road tax has to be paid. Petrol supply has to be arranged. Once on the road, you will have to concentrate, otherwise you might end up in a car crash. You will have to show consideration for other road users, and you simply need to have your driver`s licence. And all this is required just to move your body from A to B and save a little time. Physical independence is achieved at the expense of social and mental dependence. Highly precise and productive machines often require highly precise and productive functioning humans to operate them. The things we design often end up designing us"
- Exploring Next Nature.

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1 comment

a thousand tomorrows
Posted 22/08/2007 – 14:30

Fascinating topic/challenge.
It brings to mind what Marshall McLuhan once said: "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us."
The shaping factor of our own creations on our behaviour, our systems, our society (and the dependences ensuing from them) does not only apply to the world of products and services, but to the very way we think about and shape our future. One thing we keep on repeating in this respect is the constructive ambiguity that lies in the following reasoning pattern: today's choices influence what our tomorrow looks like. the images of tomorrow that we envision in our minds influence today's choices.
Many times people base their assumptions and ideas for tomorrow upon what they saw in the past or know today (cf. McLuhan's: "we walk backwards into the future"), hence the future consequently builds further upon that.
Let's say there are a wide variety of aspects related to the observation you make. For example, many discussions concerning the need for radical instead of incremental change and innovation (cf. resources, energy, climate control, consumption, etc.), also refer to the 'dependency' problem.
Keep up the good work!

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