The Anti-Intellectualism Association

Core Concept:
The Anti-Intellectualism Association is a satire organization which promotes anti-intellectualism in the US, believing normal, everyday good people should be running our country.  The AIA believes carelessly questioning our society damages America’s exceptionalism.

The goal of this project is to present a fictionalized organization or superpac that is both tongue in cheek and critical of the anti-intellectual movement that has been present in the US since it’s inception.  To goal is to initiate discussion and reflection on cognitive biases, to better represent that each of us are sometime hesitant to believe the educated “expert” in a field when they do not align with our existing belief structure.

Related Works:
Anti-Intellectualism in American Life by Richard Hofstadter
Making a Better Tomorrow Tomorrow

Design Process
The process included quite a bit of research, to see how existing superpacs, political organizations, and associations represent themselves.  By exploring organizations like the Freedom Partners Action Fund and the Center for Existential Risk, I attempted to better understand how the narrative is crafted.  Ultimately, I learned there seems to be little structure to these narratives, with a simple straightforward vocabulary being the most consistent form.

I decided early on to create a website as the home for the organization to allow for easy distribution, increase visibility, and in an effort to add a bit of credence to the organization.  From there, I fashioned the site after other superpac sites which include simple layouts and straightforward goals (usually funneling traffic to a donate button) .  I decided on four key nav points:

About – Where the mission statement and founding of the association is discussed
Key Issues – Where the key issues the association feels most strongly about is discussed
Join – Where potential visitors who want to reach out to learn more can do so
News – A repository for real news stories which fit in the AIA realm.

For the exhibition, I’m intending on including some sort of collateral as a giveaway – potential options include postcards or stickers.

Final Deliverable

Link to the AIA Website

aiamock

Reflections

While writing the content for the site, I started to question a bit where I actually stand on issues. I found myself starting to write items which at first look seemed to fit the satire of the site that was clearly poor opinions, until I started to look a bit closer at the topic at hand. Initially, I thought I would be writing satirized content from the standpoint of issues I clearly did not share, but as I continued I found myself guilty of several of the cognitive biases the site addresses.

Anti-intellectualism Assembly

The Anti-Intellectual Assembly is a satire organization which promotes anti-intellectualism in the US, believing normal, everyday good people should be running our country.  The AIA believes carelessly questioning our society damages America’s exceptionalism.

The AIA’s key issues and beliefs will be written and placed on a website designed to promote their ideals.  A few items of collateral will also be available to interact with outside of it’s online presence.

aiaMock

I was quite intrigued by the concept of Science Fiction Prototyping, in the means that it is a narrative technique which intends to start a conversation about the implications, effects, or ramifications of specific technology rooted in the future.  I find interesting the discussions that arise out of the creation of an artifact, or in this case a narrative, and in turn how those discussions then further shape the understanding of that item.  The extent of my experience with scenarios are used in tandem with the creation of a new or revised interactive design, thus seeing how a new process plays out in a different light with more of an emphasis on the narrative is rather fascinating.

One particular note did stick out to me, where it’s mentioned that another author, Miles, “concludes that while it was acceptable for scenario practitioners to be interested in science fiction, serious futurological study should derive from other sources.”  I’m really curious as to why the heir of superiority is necessary here.  It seems to me any study in the futurology hopes to do one of two things: be accurate or promote discussion of key concepts touched upon within the study.  Due to the nature of the field, I don’t really believe the source matters since accuracy is just as unlikely in any sense.  More importantly, regarding the idea of touching upon specific concepts and crafting a discussion around it, I once more don’t believe it matters whether the study is grounded in reality or science fiction.

In regards to some of the failures of scientific prototyping, I wonder if they would be mitigated if the exercise was not completed in such a short manner as was done so at Emerge.  I would be curious to see if the writing process became more collaborative, and the narrative more creative if the participants were given several weeks time to perfect the scenario.

Assignment 2 – Predator Drones: Now available at Walmart

A good majority of the technology that is part of our society was originally derived for military use and only later rolled out for civilian use once it became declassified.  Examples include GPS, Duct Tape, Microwaves, and more.  What happens when less benign military technologies are co-opted for consumer use, and are rushed to the market before a dead-locked congress can pass legislation creating rules for it’s use?

In this future, miniaturized predator drones are now available at local big-box stores such as Walmart and Target.  Consumers are able to purchase them in the same manner they are able to purchase an AR-15 or Beretta, since the same rules that govern firearms are followed for the purchase of drones with those same firearms attached to them.  Second amendment proponents argue that the sales of predator drones equipped with a .22 caliber pistol should not be handled differently then sales of any other .22 caliber pistol.  Gun rights activists argue that the drones are no different that other currently legal weapons which can be attached to a remote trigger.  Gun control activists argue that the drones should be classified as assault weapons, no different than other banned weapons like an Uzi or TEC-9.  They argue for different rules due to the lack of transparency required when the drone is flown high above, not openly displaying their location.

The FAA also treads lightly, unsure as to whether these new consumer toys / weapons / tools fall under their jurisdiction.  Along with congress, they are also deadlocked along party lines, not making a decision one way or the other due to inaction.

drone hunt ADT

The future is apparently transparent

1.)  Regarding the Kinsley piece, in my opinion the author made quite a few obvious observations in regards to videos corporations release displaying potential futures using their possible technologies.  I agree with what is stated (though in a less protracted, succinct manner), as I found nothing particularly groundbreaking in what was presented.  On a side-note though, one thing I do wonder is why these videos continuously show interfaces displayed on glass, or transparent surfaces.  It seem like in order to quickly represent that this is the future, the creator of the video must in some way show a transparent o/s as a sort of bechdel test for future technologies.  It’s not just these videos either, rather it’s present in various forms of entertainment from TV shows like Parks and Rec to the all too familiar movies like Minority Report.  I personally am not interested in a future with clear devices, as that seems like a nightmare for legibility and focus.

2.) In the David Kirby piece, there is discussion about the films The lawnmower man and Minority report as two films which display future technologies at the forefront.  I find it interesting that both of these films are based on short stories, both of which are heavily abstracted and much different from their source material.  Both use their source as merely a jumping off point, as a way to build an entire future world around a short narrative, and in many ways making the world one of the key protagonists of the film.  Creating the entire gestural interface for the interactions performed by the title character further add to the believability of latter.

Regarding the discussion of the film Destination Moon, Kirby speaks about the ability for a film to educate the general public about technologies, in this case space travel.  I was unaware of this film, or the usage of the Woody the Woodpecker cartoon which I found to be particularity ingenious method to do so.  A much more modern parallel would be the film Interstellar, which successfully was able to explain the concepts of relativity and their relation to gravity.  I found it fascinating to see individuals speaking about such a high-level concept as relativity in a day to day conversation due to that film.

Regarding the film Mission to Mars, in retrospect it seems very obvious that it was intended as diegetic prototype, because the movie itself: not so good.

 

DnR & The Cone

A few notes on a few topics touched on by the readings for 2/12:

1.) The Dunne and Raby reading at one point stated in relation to conceptual product design, “At least at a professional level, it is usually done by students, which although laudable means it can lack the depth and sophistication experienced designers would bring to it”.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about this statement, rather I’m curious as to why the statement needed to be made at all.  There is an assumption that an experienced designer can not be a student, which I don’t believe is fair.  Experience is also not a quality that can be quantified (as opposed to by years, which isn’t the same for each individual) so I’m not sure if that has much bearing on what they would consider a successful conceptual product.  A minor point, but once again, I found it a bit off putting and I’m not sure why it needs to be mentioned as it offers little to the writing.

2.) DnR acronym is awesome. Reminds me of GnR (Guns N’ Roses), and makes me believe that Dunne and Raby are rockstars.

3.) When discussing the cone of probability, possibility, etc. Tonkinwise suggests that different individuals have different cones, which I found to be quite interesting.  Depending upon where we’re located on the social ladder, the size and scope of the various cones can vary widely.  With the ever-expanding issue of social equality, and individual who makes minimum wage and has very little chance of truly experiencing “The American Dream” of social mobility has a drastically different cone.  It’s very likely that their preferable cone never overlaps with the possible cone, or if it does it’s every so slight.

I also wonder if regardless of social standing, it’s possible to have multiple preferable cones; Or if it’s even necessary to display to list it, since it’s possible for the cone to overlap all options.  I might find it preferable to be elected the president of the united states and successfully push my legislation which makes blister packs illegal.  Probably not going to happen, yet I still find it to be preferable.  And at that point, who decides what is preferable?

 

Notes on Futurish

A few notes that I jotted down, and inspired further though while reading Futurish:

1.) At the beginning of the everyday futures section, there is a discussion about robots roles in our futures dreams. The author mentions here we are in the 21st century, and very few of us actually have robots in our homes, possibly because they are so creepy. I couldn’t possibly disagree with this statement more. The author is very likely thinking of humanoid robots such as Rosie from the Jetsons, when in reality he should be thinking of robotics as to what they truly are: any mechanical element which carries out a series of tasks via automation. Examples include Roombas, pool cleaners, and even aspects of appliances such as dishwashers. I would argue this is a failure of design futures thinking, assuming that any sort of robot that completes personal assistant tasks much assume a humanoid form. This line of thinking is similar to one with extraterrestrial life, where the immediate assumption is that if we were to find that “aliens” exist, they would appear similar in form to humans, when in reality they may be so wildly different we can not event perceive their possible forms.

imgres

2.) The practice of everyday futures mentions the prompt regarding what would you do if there was an electricity cut. I would personally treat it as a many vacation, assuming everyone else is experiencing the same cut and I knew at one point in the short future it was coming back. This is exactly how we treat it in Florida when a Hurricane hits and power is lost.

3.) There was a note about the official language of design futures being English. I’m not sure how much I agree with this statement. It seems like there is very likely quite a bit of design futures present in less fortunate countries, especially in relation to an enhancement in quality of their particular surroundings, though they many not be taken seriously as there is no capital behind them to be deemed realistic. I would posit design futures outside of the first world are simply labeled as dreams.

4.) Pataphysics. This idea is interesting to me, though I’m not sure how realistic it is outside of a fine arts or discussion based realm. This makes me thing of things like the intentionally bad design displayed below.

eternal-loop-watering-can