In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World

Overview

We're filling up the world with technology and devices, but we've lost sight of an important question: What is this stuff for? What value does it add to our lives? So asks author JohnThackara in his new book, In the Bubble: Designing for a Complex World.These are tough questions for the pushers of technology to answer. Our economic system is centered on technology, so it would be no small matter if "tech" ceased to be an end-in-itself in our daily lives.Technology is not going to go away, but the time to discuss ...

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Overview

We're filling up the world with technology and devices, but we've lost sight of an important question: What is this stuff for? What value does it add to our lives? So asks author JohnThackara in his new book, In the Bubble: Designing for a Complex World.These are tough questions for the pushers of technology to answer. Our economic system is centered on technology, so it would be no small matter if "tech" ceased to be an end-in-itself in our daily lives.Technology is not going to go away, but the time to discuss the end it will serve is before we deploy it, not after. We need to ask what purpose will be served by the broadband communications, smart materials, wearable computing, and connected appliances that we're unleashing upon the world. We need to ask what impact all this stuff will have on our daily lives. Who will look after it, and how? In the Bubble is about a world based less on stuff and more on people. Thackara describes a transformation that is taking place now — not in a remote science fiction future; it's not about, as he puts it, "the schlock of the new" but about radical innovation already emerging in daily life. We are regaining respect for what people can do that technology can't. In the Bubble describes services designed to help people carry out daily activities in new ways. Many of these services involve technology — ranging from body implants to wide-bodied jets. But objects and systems play a supporting role in a people-centered world. The design focus is on services, not things. And new principles — above all,lightness — inform the way these services are designed and used. At the heart of In the Bubble is a belief, informed by a wealth of real-world examples, that ethics and responsibility can inform design decisions without impeding social and technical innovation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If you've ever found yourself saying, 'bad TiVO,' design critic John Thackara is talking to you." Fast Company
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262701150
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,399,083
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

John Thackara, described as a "design guru, critic and business provocateur" by FastCompany, is the Director of Doors of Perception, a design futures network based inAmsterdam and Bangalore. He is the author of Design after Modernism,Lost in Space: A Traveler's Tale, Winners! How Successful CompaniesInnovate by Design, and other books. Since 2002, he has authored the http://www.doorsofperception.com/ Doors of Perception blog and newsletter.

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Table of Contents

1 Lightness 9
2 Speed 29
3 Mobility 51
4 Locality 73
5 Situation 97
6 Conviviality 113
7 Learning 135
8 Literacy 161
9 Smartness 185
10 Flow 211
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2007

    A freestyle design symposium echoing many voices

    John Thackara calls himself a ¿symposiarch,¿ someone who puts together groups of creative people, assigns them a lofty theme and then observes the colloquy. This book is a little like a classical Greek symposium. It¿s a loosely structured conversation with many voices, a freestyle rush into 10 clusters of ideas on how designers ¿ architects, industrial designers, artists, engineers, urban planners and others ¿ should be thinking about today¿s big design issues, including sustainability, needless complexity, and the frenetic pace of the social and business worlds. Does Thackara have answers? Not really. His flamboyantly expressed suggestions would probably collapse if examined carefully. But, surprisingly, the book is no weaker for that. It is not a design manual or manifesto. Rather, we find that it¿s a work designed to get you to free-associate and open your mind to new possibilities. If your creativity is cooling, this book may do what Kafka suggested all literary creations should do: break up the frozen sea inside you.

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