Methods of engagement
Including edge uses cases
Thinking at scales
Design within circular systems
Design as repair and reenlistment
Giving products the dignity of death
Design from multiple perspectives
Make a practice that includes domestic tasks on equal footing with design tasks
In this manifesto, I propose a new kind of product design that is consciously embedded within the animate world, where mountains, plants, people, and yes, our products all are capable of “dreaming”. I am writing this 1. Because the skills of product designers are uniquely suited to exploring the interfacial quality of our “things”. 2. Because as professionals engaged in the production of tools and technology, we have an obligation to build carefully, considering how our work shapes cognition, orients the user within conceptual frameworks, and engages with the more than human world. I may be only a single node, but I can use that power to help shape the world of things: to help them dream of the future In want.
As a designer, recognizing this configuration is humbling. At best, I am a co-designer, creating products as a single node within a vast complex network of actors. And as the pressure of the climate crisis increases, the entanglement of systems becomes ever more complex and overlapping.
At the same time as definitions of agency are beginning to open, many are recognizing the co-creative role technology plays in orienting the self within the world. Distributing the act of cognition, our technology is embedded within conceptual frameworks: its use unconsciously affirming assumptions about the ways in which it allows us to navigate the world. The saying goes, “with a hammer in hand, all problems look like nails.” And it is becoming increasingly clear that the tools we use, even the ones without screens, have an interfacial quality, augmenting the reality we perceive.
The world is animate. It changes around us in ways we have little control over. Storms reshape coastlines. Fires burn down neighborhoods. Rain cancels sports games. However these are not the only agents shaping the world. Increasingly, AIs and DAOs have forced us to consider a world where software exists as active agents with the market, making transactions and effecting their will upon the material world. With these ideas considered, it has become clear that these are not the only agents capable of participating in the act of world shaping. As terra0 explores, if we are to give agency to primitive AIs, what is to stop us from including forests, plants and ecologies within frameworks of exchange and communication.