- Is design for convenience really just contempt for everyday life? The evergreen promise of technology is to make our lives better, but Cameron Tonkinwise makes the case that maybe the little chores of daily life in the wealthier corners of the world ought to stay where they are and that small joys in life are different for all of us. It's a good reminder that the design thinking, user centered design and empathetic practices don't map cleanly onto whole populations.
Machines for Moving :
- Clearpath Robotics unveiled a smaller warehouse logistics bot, for dealing with sub-pallet sized loads. They are a fascinating and fast moving company, with a public commitment from their CTO to never produce a robot that can kill. In lieu of sprawling DARPA-esque research projects that underpin the product development cycles of many robotics companies, Clearpath has been been stepping up development of nimble, straight to commercial application robotics systems. For an industry that has been heavily buttressed by military spending, it's looking like a business model that embraces a more peaceful vision of the future can also be profitable.
Technology as a Threat:
- The dangers of trusting data collection and databases implicitly: you may be in a gang database and not even know it. Now that everyone in tech is talking about big data, quantification and authentication, we're looking at a potential future riddled with two truths and a lie x 1000 with little transparency to even know what might need to be corrected or appealed.
Just a Game:
- How graphics cards developed for videogames have revolutionized machine learning and rapidly created a new class of computers that can beat us at just about any game.
- The phenomenon of people playing games based on their day jobs in their free time. As the article gets at, this can be read as a symptom of a workforce that is increasingly limited in their autonomy and frustrated by an uncertain path to success within an overbearing organization. If we understand that stats and quick confirmation of success is such a powerful motivator, are there tools that could be created to preserve engagement in far more abstract / slow return of results professions like education or urban planning? With AI and automation fast on the heels of routine work of all stripes (blue and white collar) we will need an economy filled with the sort of jobs that require increasing levels of abstraction without clear metrics.
P.S. - we are hiring: looking for candidates to fill an operations role, which would encompass administrative tasks along with some design and prototyping help. We're also looking for designer / engineer type people (a formal degree in either field is nota requirement, overall design/building aptitude and attitude are more important to us.)