Golan Levin Exercise: Design Manifesto

5. The Critical Engineer recognises that each work of engineering engineers its user, proportional to that user’s dependency upon it.

This tenant states that the more the user depends on a piece of engineering, the more they are affected by it.

I think as creators, we rarely think about a person’s extended relationship with a piece of work. We craft solutions to address a particular need and often don’t think of the long-term consequence of interacting with a piece of work.

A perfect example of this is the smartphone, which arose as a way of combining traditional cell phones and PDAs. However, increasing dependence on smartphones has resulted in the following: the “always on” phenomenon, overstimulation and attentional deficits, and increased stress. As we have become more attached to our mobile devices, our phones have in turn changed our expectations, actions, and mental states. However, these effects were probably neither intended nor imagined by the original smartphone creators.  

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One thought on “Golan Levin Exercise: Design Manifesto

  1. Surveillance drones. Creating guns with 3D printers. Legislation to stop texting while driving, We seem to be stymied by “technology surprise”. It’s characterized by a sudden astonishment and sometimes outrage that a particular technology has somehow, as though overnight, become a potential problem. Why don’t we think about—or design for—the downsides of technology? This is my justification for design fiction, stories intended to suspend disbelief about change, making it seem real enough to us that we want to talk about it, assess it, and ask ourselves if this is really the future we want — and if it’s not — what might we do about it, how might we change it, refine it, or avoid it altogether.

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