Taxonomy / Spectrum

Right after closing the pdf to write about how I think it should be a spectrum, I saw Samantha and Dan voicing it out. So at least I don’t feel alone now. I strongly agree with Samantha, that it should be more like a spectrum, as I think there’s a lot that can fit into both categories. This is kind of like the musician/new song release problem. Musicians need to define their genre, in order to be able to reach out to the right audience. But this requires them to assume who their audience is. Naturally after 2 – 3 albums, they start asking other people to name the genre, because it’s constantly evolving. Most of the time the definitions made by other people, but not the composers themselves are more accurate, because it’s hard to have a good perspective as the composer. I think it’s the same with Critical and Speculative design. Just because a technology exists only in a lab context doesn’t necessarily mean it’s “unfamiliar”. A good example would be 3D printers. “We” as people who are in CMU eco-system, all have an idea about how they work, they’re still new, and considering how fast the technology is evolving, it’s still in lab stage, but “we” are familiar to how it may change our lives. Not because someone refers to scientific documents to prove this, but because we’ve experienced this with 2D printers. Of course it’s debatable if 3D printers are the best example, but wouldn’t this depend on the group of people we’re selecting as a reference? “We” may, know about the technology even in the lab stage, but “some other people” may not. And isn’t this the same approach as “what works in Palo Alto is assumed to work in Penang” ? Just by categorizing things as “Familiar” and “Unfamiliar”, I think the categorization system fails. Familiar to whom? How do we know if the audience likes rock or jazz? 

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